The 5 Biggest Monkey Pox Myths and How to Dispel Lies During a Pandemic￼
The worst thing spreading right now is disinformation.
In many ways, it’s a scary time to be alive. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic finally seemed to be reaching a point of being manageable, if far from truly over, we learn of outbreaks of the disease monkey pox cropping up in Canada, in America, and beyond. But what’s truly scary is not just that we now have two diseases to worry about, but that much of what many people “learn” about these diseases is just simply not true.
We have all been through the proverbial ringer reading, viewing, and listening to constant half-truths, uninformed conjecture, and outright lies when it comes to the coronavirus. We have been told by various cranks that masks don’t work when in fact they certainly do restrict the spread of the airborne illness. We have been told by others that taking Ivermectin can prevent or treat COVID-19 when it absolutely cannot, according to the greater scientific community, including the FDA. People have defined their entire personas on resisting and decrying vaccines and there has been a staggering amount of false information swirling about when it comes to COVID-19 writ large.
We’ll never be able to accurately tally the number of people who died as a result of COVID-19 misinformation – people who passed on a vaccine that would have saved them, people who went without a mask only to get sick – but the numbers are vast, to be sure.
The only silver lining that may come from the largely terrible and divisive public response to the coronavirus pandemic – most medical and health professionals did their best, to be clear – is the potential for people to mount a better response to this disease than they did when COVID-19 became a pandemic.
To help you better understand monkey pox and to hopefully help allow for a better response to this disease, let’s take a look at five common monkey pox myths and dispel them for you. Hopefully you can go on to dispel these monkey pox myths for someone else, as well.
1. Monkey pox only affects gay men
This is an outright falsehood and a dangerous one at that. Anyone who thinks that only men who have sex with other men can contract monkey pox is creating a huge risk factor by ignoring the reality that anyone of any gender or sexual orientation can get the disease.
Misinformation and marginalization like this are what helped the AIDS epidemic of the 20th century spread unchecked for so long, and look what HIV/AIDS did to the globe as a whole – we are still dealing with that awful virus decades later, and as we can now clearly see, it is hardly an issue that is limited to the gay male community.
2. You can contract monkey pox from vaccination
This belief that getting a COVID-19 vaccine shot or booster can infect you with monkey pox is an outright falsehood, but it’s out there nonetheless, and it’s the last thing we need: a fallacy that may lead to the spread of two diseases based on an improper understanding of how to prevent (or at least mitigate the symptoms of) one that has killed tens of millions of people in just the past two years.
3. Anyone who wants a monkey pox vaccine can get one
Vaccination for monkey pox is actually not available far and wide because there is, at present, a limited supply of the vaccines. So, for now, being safe and preventing an infection is the best route.
The government aims to have several million doses of monkey pox vaccine available in the future, but at present, there are very few doses around.
4. Monkey pox spreads the same way as COVID-19
There are far too many misconceptions about how monkey pox spreads out there in the world today. The fact is that monkey pox primarily only from direct physical contact with an infected person or from contact with an infected person’s recent secretions. You are very unlikely to get monkey pox from breathing in a space occupied by an infected person, nor can you get it from activities like swimming in a pool used by someone who was sick. Monkey pox spreads primarily through intimate contact with a sick person, not through exhaled droplets varying a viral load like with a coronavirus.
5. Monkey pox is a brand-new disease
Monkey pox is not at all a new disease. In fact, according to Healthline, scientists have known about the disease since the late 1950s, so we have well over six decades of knowledge of monkey pox. The disease has long been endemic to many African countries, where it has been found in animals and in the human population. What is new today is that monkey pox has spread to many new parts of the globe far afield from the African continent.