Health Conditions / Infectious Diseases / Monkeypox

Here’s Why ‘Monkeypox’ Is Now ‘Mpox’

Here’s Why ‘Monkeypox’ Is Now ‘Mpox’

The World Health Organization (WHO) will now refer to monkeypox as mpox following criticisms of the prior name’s offensive origins. The WHO announced the change in a Monday press release, writing that they had seen reports of “racist and stigmatizing language online” after the outbreak of the virus expanded earlier this year.“In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name,” the statement reads. Mpox is now the preferred term, and it will fully replace the term monkeypox after a transition period of one year during which WHO will use the two interchangeably. The term will be added to the current International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as a synonym and will be an official part of the next iteration of the ICD, which is “the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation, and statistical aggregation,” per the press release. Although updating the ICD usually takes several years, the process was expedited but not any less rigorous. According to the press release, the WHO consulted with several advisory bodies about the name change, including representatives from 45 different countries. Even so, the change has been in the works for some time. In June, a group of African scientists and allies published an open letter urging a name change and calling for Western media to stop using images of Black people exclusively in news coverage of the virus. “In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” the scientists wrote. The WHO agreed to change the name that same month but faced criticism when several weeks had passed and no change had occurred. In July, New York City public health commissioner Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, sent a letter to the WHO pressing the organization on the urgency of renaming the virus for fear of perpetuating stigma. In addition to noting that the name could possibly mislead people into thinking that the virus originated from monkeys, Dr. Vasan drew a parallel to the emerging days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Early misinformation about the virus led people to believe that it was spread to humans after people in Africa engaged in sexual activity with monkeys,” Dr. Vasan wrote. “This kind of false messaging created incalculable harm and stigma for decades to come. Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma—particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it.”While the change is long overdue, it’s certainly welcome at a time when LGBTQ+ people already face heightened stigma and scrutiny. Despite overall numbers of mpox diagnoses trending downward in the United States, the number of those affected remains to be disproportionately queer Black people as a result of inequitable vaccine distribution and systemic health care problems.  This article was originally published on Them.Related:

How Does Monkeypox Affect the Brain?

How Does Monkeypox Affect the Brain?

The monkeypox outbreak in the US seems to be slowing down slightly—a positive bit of news after many months of confusion and uncertainty. Still, experts say we’re not totally in the clear. Researchers are continuing to study the disease and are taking a closer look at the potential risks, as the virus has spread to dozens of countries outside of endemic areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Case in point: New research suggests monkeypox may lead to neurological complications in very rare instances. In many people, though, the disease can cause distressing psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression.For the meta-analysis, recently published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, researchers in the UK analyzed the findings of 19 studies that included a total of 1,512 participants, 1,031 of whom tested positive for monkeypox. (It’s important to note that these studies were done using data from prior outbreaks.) The researchers found that up to 3% of people with monkeypox developed rare but severe neurological complications like seizures, confusion, or a type of brain inflammation called encephalitis.That sounds scary, but don’t stress about this too much just yet, experts say. “We are not expecting a tide of severe brain problems with monkeypox, but complications like encephalitis and seizure may occur in small proportions of people,” study co-lead author James Badenoch, MBChB, an academic foundation doctor at Barts Health NHS Trust and the Preventative Neurology Unit at Queen Mary University London, tells SELF. “Although monkeypox mainly causes flu-like symptoms and skin problems, neuropsychiatric symptoms are also frequently reported.” These range from more likely side effects—such as headache, muscle aches, and fatigue—to rare brain complications, he adds.More frequently, people with monkeypox seemed to experience a pretty noticeable dip in their moods. One of the studies included in the review found that over a quarter of people who were hospitalized for monkeypox in Nigeria, where the virus is endemic, experienced anxiety or depression that required counseling. The researchers were unable to determine just how common the mental health symptoms may be due to differences in how the studies were conducted, but many reports in the review suggest that up to half of people with monkeypox may experience some type of psychological or neurological issue—most commonly a headache.Scientists are still trying to figure out why some people with monkeypox experience these side effects—and what types of factors influence a person’s risk—but they suspect some symptoms may stem from intense inflammation, a psychological response to being sick, or, perhaps, the virus’s ability to directly infect the central nervous system; in some cases, it may be a mix of all three, but more research is needed to know for sure.Viral infections are known to set off an influx of inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, which can either trigger new psychological symptoms or a flare-up of an underlying mental health condition, according to Daniel Pastula, MD, an associate professor of neurology, medicine, and epidemiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. In general, the body doesn’t do well with inflammation from any cause, and the central nervous system appears to be especially vulnerable. Think of any time you’ve been sick and felt a little loopy: “It’s just that inflammatory soup in the body that your brain doesn’t like,” Dr. Pastula, who recently published a review on monkeypox’s neuroinvasive potential, tells SELF.Another possible, and probably more likely, explanation: The stigma associated with monkeypox, the stress of having a painful and potentially disfiguring skin rash, and the two to four months of social isolation that is often required during the illness may, understandably, cause immense anxiety and depression, Dr. Badenoch says.The bottom line: Neurological complications are a possible risk if you contract monkeypox, but these effects are incredibly rare based on what experts know so far. That said, if you do become infected, it’s more likely that your mental health may take a hit as your body tries to recover from the virus—so do your best to follow the CDC’s monkeypox prevention tips to reduce your chances of becoming infected, get vaccinated if you are eligible, and try to go easy on yourself if you do get sick.Related:

Here’s What People With Eczema Should Know About Their Monkeypox Risk

Here’s What People With Eczema Should Know About Their Monkeypox Risk

There have been lots of important discussions online about how stigmatizing the response to the monkeypox outbreak has been, in part because the disease causes visible skin symptoms—something that people who live with chronic skin conditions understand all too well.On Twitter, people with eczema—a common skin condition that impacts an estimated 7% of American adults—have shared valid concerns about their high risk of possible monkeypox complications and lack of vaccine access in general.Currently, the monkeypox outbreak is overwhelmingly affecting the LGBTQ+ community—more specifically, men who have sex with men—but that doesn’t mean some of these folks don’t have eczema, nor does it mean that other people who face a high risk of complications, including anyone with eczema or those who are immunocompromised, should be left out of the public health response as the outbreak continues.So, what’s the deal here? How does monkeypox potentially impact people who live with eczema? Ahead, experts break down what we know so far.First, a little background on monkeypox and eczema as separate conditions.Eczema, medically known as atopic dermatitis, is an umbrella term for a group of skin disorders that typically cause dry, itchy, inflamed, and irritated skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Eczema is not contagious and the causes of the condition aren’t fully understood, although experts believe there may be genetic and immune-system-related links involved. Eczema can trigger a rash on various areas of the skin, along with small, raised bumps that may ooze or crust over in some people.Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This virus is related to the variola virus, which also causes smallpox. Monkeypox typically presents with a distinct skin rash that can be painful, as well as flu-like symptoms. The disease is contagious and, in the current outbreak, is mainly spreading via close, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with monkeypox lesions, scabs, or body fluids from a person with the virus, the CDC says. However, the virus is historically known to spread in various ways, including through respiratory secretions and coming into contact with contaminated objects, including fabrics.The CDC warns that people with certain skin conditions, with a heavy emphasis on eczema, face a higher risk of severe monkeypox disease, should they become infected. But why? “Eczema affects the integrity of the skin barrier and the skin immune system, making the skin more vulnerable to developing infection—including monkeypox infection,” Howa Yeung, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Emory University School of Medicine, tells SELF.Essentially, people with eczema “have a weaker skin barrier,” Cindy Wassef, MD, an assistant professor at the Rutgers Center for Dermatology, tells SELF. “Dry, cracked skin makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to cross into the skin, monkeypox included,” she explains.Monkeypox is typically a self-limiting disease, lasting between two to four weeks, the CDC says. But in severe cases, especially in those who are very young, pregnant, immunocompromised, or have a history of eczema, the infection can lead to hospitalization or even death.What should people with eczema know about the monkeypox vaccines?There are two different vaccines to be aware of: Jynneos (Imvanex) and ACAM2000 (Imvamune). They’re licensed to prevent smallpox but also work to reduce the risk of severe monkeypox infection, per the CDC.

A Person Diagnosed With Monkeypox in the US Has Died—Here’s What We Know So Far

A Person Diagnosed With Monkeypox in the US Has Died—Here’s What We Know So Far

A Texas resident who was diagnosed with monkeypox has died, marking the first reported death of a person diagnosed with the virus in the US during the 2022 outbreak. The death comes as the country tops 18,100 confirmed monkeypox cases, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The person who died was a resident of Harris County, which encompasses the greater Houston area, according to a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).It’s important to note that health officials didn’t confirm the person died specifically from monkeypox itself: “The case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death,” the statement said. The person, whose age has not been revealed, was “severely immunocompromised.”People who are immunocompromised are more likely to develop a severe form of monkeypox should they become infected with it, according to the CDC. Conditions that can weaken the immune system include an advanced or untreated HIV infection and primary immunodeficiency conditions (like DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome), among others. People taking certain medications, including high-dose corticosteroids, fall into this category, as do people who have recently received an organ transplant and people receiving treatment for blood cancers. (Corticosteroids, in particular, are prescribed to a large number of people, as they’re used to manage a variety of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, per the Cleveland Clinic.) Very young children, pregnant people, and people who have a history of eczema also face a higher risk of severe monkeypox illness, per the CDC.The reported death highlights the importance of slowing the spread of monkeypox: About 7 million people in the US are immunocompromised, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), and these folks have already faced years of health anxiety due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s more, the outbreak has disproportionately impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and the public health response has been slow, confusing, and often stigmatizing.Certain people are eligible for Jynneos, the only FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine being used in the US right now, including people who have been exposed to monkeypox; people who have had multiple sexual partners within the last two weeks in an area with known monkeypox; people who perform certain jobs that may make them high-risk (such as lab workers); and designated public health care workers.In addition to getting vaccinated if you are eligible, there are other ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, per the DSHS:Do your best to avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with any person with a new and unexplained rash.Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large crowds if you can.Avoid sharing bedding, towels, cups, and utensils with sick people.Stay home when you are sick.If you think you may have monkeypox symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a health care provider or your local health department so you can get approved for testing as soon as possible. “Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” John Hellerstedt, MD, the DSHS commissioner, said in the statement. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”Related:

Here’s What You Should Know If Your Second Monkeypox Vaccine Has Been Delayed

Here’s What You Should Know If Your Second Monkeypox Vaccine Has Been Delayed

There is no clear data on the vaccine’s efficacy in the current monkeypox outbreak since the disease has only been spreading in non-endemic countries since May 2022, and the Jynneos vaccination campaign only recently began in the US. We’ll likely have some more answers on how well the shot’s working sometime next year.How long is too long to wait for the second dose?According to Dr. Gandhi, there’s strong evidence to suggest that spacing out vaccine doses can improve a person’s immune response in the long term. This has even been observed with the COVID vaccines, for example; preliminary evidence suggests that waiting up to 11 or 12 weeks between doses may provide stronger protection than giving the shots three weeks apart. “If you exceed the one-month interval [with the Jynneos vaccine], you’re still fine—in fact, you may be even better off,” Dr. Schaffner says, as long as you eventually complete the full monkeypox vaccination series.So, is there an amount of time that could be too long to wait for the second dose? The short answer is no, according to Dr. Schaffner. This hasn’t been specifically studied in the Jynneos series, but past research strongly reinforces this line of thinking. “We’re really quite confident that even if you go two, five, six, eight months, a year later and you get that second dose, that your immune system—primed by the first dose—will have a really big second-dose response,” Dr. Schaffner says.The FDA also recently decided that the Jynneos vaccine, which was originally approved for subcutaneous (beneath-the-skin) use, can be given intradermally (between layers of skin) and at lower doses. It based that decision, in part, on a 2015 study that found intradermal injections at 1/5th the dose led to a similar immune response compared to those who got the full dose injected into the arm muscle.How to stay safe until you can get your second monkeypox vaccineAll that said, the full two-dose series is needed for optimal protection against monkeypox. “Until you get your second dose, you could assume that maybe you have partial protection, but probably not full protection,” Dr. Gandhi says. Peak protection kicks in about two weeks after you receive the second dose.Monkeypox can spread in various ways, but intimate, prolonged skin-to-skin contact is driving the current outbreak, the CDC says. While you’re waiting for your second dose, the most effective way to lower your risk is to limit intimate or sexual activity, says Dr. Gandhi, or at least be especially cautious about it. Practicing good hand hygiene (which we’re sure you know how to do by now!) and avoiding close skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a suspected monkeypox rash can also reduce your chances of infection.In the meantime, rest assured that more doses are coming. The US Department of Health and Human Services recently ordered an additional 5.5 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine and public health experts expect them to become available later this year. Because an ample supply of Jynneos doses is on the horizon, public health experts do not expect the country to use the ACAM2000 vaccine. Dr. Schaffner says he’s not even aware of any providers that carry ACAM2000, since it’s associated with adverse effects and is more difficult to administer.Unfortunately, just as experts learned during the height of the COVID pandemic, only time will tell us just how effective the one-dose strategy is. As the monkeypox public health emergency accelerates, health officials say the most prudent thing to do is to make sure vulnerable people have at least some protection against the virus while we wait.Related:

What to Know About the Wheal, a Common Monkeypox Vaccine Side Effect

What to Know About the Wheal, a Common Monkeypox Vaccine Side Effect

Some people who have received the monkeypox vaccine are noticing a small, raised bump that appears at the injection site. If this happens to you, and the mark lingers for days or even weeks, there’s no need to be alarmed: It’s called a wheal, a totally normal reaction that should be expected. And, yes, there’s a reason you’re only hearing about this now, months after the monkeypox vaccine rollout began.In early August, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency in order to increase efforts in curbing the rapid acceleration in cases—16,900 at the time of publication, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to the declaration, the preferred monkeypox vaccine, called Jynneos, was given subcutaneously; this means it was injected into the fatty tissue directly under the skin, similar to the flu shot or the COVID vaccines, per the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). As long as monkeypox is considered a public health emergency, though, the vaccine can be given via an intradermal injection, which isn’t a very common method.“Most vaccines are given as shots into the muscle or subcutaneous fat,” Kaitlyn Rivard, PharmD, infectious disease residency director at Cleveland Clinic’s pharmacy department, tells SELF. “The monkeypox vaccine is unique in that it is given as a shot under the first layer of skin.” Basically, the needle is injected closer to the surface of your skin, in between the outermost layers. This injection method should cause that raised, blister-like bump at the injection site.So why change how Jynneos is administered now? Giving the monkeypox vaccine via an intradermal injection rather than subcutaneously is one way to help preserve the country’s supply of the vaccine, which is struggling to keep up with demand due to the pace of the spread. “This approach could increase the number of available Jynneos vaccine doses by up to fivefold,” a CDC statement says. Administering it subcutaneously requires 0.5 milliliters of the vaccine whereas an intradermal injection requires just 0.1 millimeters, a difference that should ultimately help get vaccines to the most vulnerable people.So what is a wheal, anyway? And when can you expect it to go away? Ahead, experts explain what you need to know about this vaccine side effect.Why does a wheal develop after the monkeypox vaccine?The wheal is caused by the actual contents of the vaccine, Dr. Rivard explains. “The liquid from the vaccine creates a bubble under this shallow layer of skin, which is why it is noticeable,” she adds. “The bubble should look like a pale elevation of skin,” and so it will be similar to the color of your skin tone. While you may understandably be curious about it, there’s no need to fret over this side effect, per Dr. Rivard: “A wheal is a normal occurrence after an intradermal injection, and there is no need to worry.”

The WHO Is Renaming Monkeypox—Here’s Why That’s Important

The WHO Is Renaming Monkeypox—Here’s Why That’s Important

Monkeypox is set to be renamed, starting with the disease’s distinct strains. Variants of the monkeypox virus formerly known as the Congo Basin and West African strains have officially been renamed to avoid further stigmatization of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement. The strains will now be known as Clade one (I) and Clade two (II), respectively.Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, before current best practices for naming viruses and their variants were adopted, the statement said. Now, naming policies aim to “avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare,” the WHO said.The new name for the virus itself (historically called the monkeypox virus) and the disease caused by the virus (historically called monkeypox) have not yet been announced; the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) will rename the virus while the WHO will rename the disease. “WHO is holding an open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox. Anyone wishing to propose new names can do so here,” the statement said.The scientific community has been pushing for a name change throughout the current monkeypox outbreak. A letter penned by researchers, which was published June 10 on the discussion forum Virological, explained why it matters: “There is an increasing narrative in the media and among many scientists that are trying to link the present global outbreak to Africa or West Africa or Nigeria,” the letter said. However, the origin of the current outbreak isn’t fully understood, and the disease has so far spread to 82 countries that haven’t historically reported monkeypox cases, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Additionally, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Commissioner wrote a letter to the Director General of the WHO in late July, outlining the possible dangers of continuing to use the name as it is. “We have a growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on these already vulnerable communities,” the Commissioner wrote. “NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who have expressed their serious concern about continuing to exclusively use the term ‘monkeypox’ given the stigma it may engender, and the painful and racist history within which terminology like this is rooted for communities of color.”“Continuing to use the term ‘monkeypox’ to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma—particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it,” the letter said. (The current outbreak has disproportionately affected men who have sex with men, as well as people of color, per the CDC.)This stigma already feels too familiar, as it was clearly present at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, too. The U.S. continues to learn about and grapple with the effects the pandemic has had on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. After COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China in 2020, violence against Asian Americans skyrocketed in tandem with openly racist rhetoric that referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recorded a 77% increase in hate crimes against Asian people from 2019 to 2020.

There’s Lots of Confusion and Stigma Around Monkeypox—Let’s Clear It Up

There’s Lots of Confusion and Stigma Around Monkeypox—Let’s Clear It Up

Beyond messaging, the testing, treatment, and vaccination infrastructure must also be equitable and robust, especially as an outbreak continues to grow. Oni Blackstock, MD, founder and executive director of anti-racist health equity consulting organization Health Justice, worries the U.S.’s health care infrastructure is unprepared for monkeypox: “Many of the same issues that we saw with COVID—lack of access to testing, vaccines, and treatment—are also being seen with [monkeypox],” she tells SELF. “Black and Latino [gay men and their sexual networks are] disproportionately affected,” she adds. “We know these groups have less access to care and are more likely to be uninsured.”Other experts are also concerned that public health outreach efforts may not reach those in rural areas. “Many people in the U.S. do not have access to sexual health clinics, which are a critical safety-net resource for providing high-quality, LGBTQ-friendly health services at low or no-cost,” Jay Varma, MD, professor of population health services at Weill Cornell Medical College, tells SELF.The infrastructure underlying the state-by-state vaccine rollout—including online portals for appointment scheduling and the locations and hours of vaccination sites—can also be inaccessible to disabled people, those without reliable internet access, and people who work in the evenings.In an urgent open letter to the Biden administration, a group of 16 health care and equity experts and queer community members laid out policy solutions that they believe are key to ensuring the monkeypox response reaches marginalized and underserved communities. The letter details the need for free testing and vaccination at community venues, supporting rapid research for testing, and increasing staff resources for front-line agencies such as sexual health clinics, among other proposals.So, should we consider monkeypox an STI?It’s possible you’ve seen news stories referring to monkeypox as a sexually transmitted infection—and then other news stories (or social media discourse) contesting that characterization. There are a couple of reasons for both the characterizations and the pushback.First, it is true that a majority of monkeypox cases reported in the U.S. right now are being driven by sexual contact. But, to be clear, monkeypox can spread via any type of close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox, the CDC says. This can happen during intimate contact like any kind of sex, kissing, hugging, massage, prolonged face-to-face contact, or touching fabrics and objects that were used by someone who has an active infection.Advocates like Farrow worry—for good reason—that referring to monkeypox as an STI will result in the stigmatization of those most at risk. As Gothamist reported, other experts worry calling it an STI “could also downplay the threat posed to the general public, leading some people to not take precautions when they should.”Of course, whether something is contracted sexually should not impact the quality of your care, or your access to disease education, vaccination, and treatment. There’s nothing inherently shameful about sexually transmitted infections. It’s when bad-faith actors use the STI label as a way to denigrate communities at risk that the label becomes dangerous.

Please Don’t Try to Diagnose Strangers With Monkeypox, You Guys

Please Don’t Try to Diagnose Strangers With Monkeypox, You Guys

A recent New York Times report detailed an extremely messed up story of social media vigilantism: A 33-year-old woman with a health condition unrelated to monkeypox was filmed by strangers who assumed she was just out and about with the virus, based solely on the appearance of her skin. The video was posted to TikTok, where it went viral enough that it was sent back to the woman, Lilly Simon, who lives in Brooklyn.Simon explained in a follow-up TikTok of her own that she doesn’t have monkeypox but a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 1, which causes tumors to grow along her nerve endings. “I’m not new to people being mean to the condition,” Simon told The New York Times. Given the current monkeypox outbreak, which was recently declared a public health emergency in the U.S., she assumed something like this would be “inevitable.”I can’t believe we have to say this, but please do not attempt to diagnose monkeypox in strangers. It’s both immoral and impossible to look at someone you don’t know and accurately claim, based on appearances alone, that they are infected with monkeypox. While it’s true that one common symptom of the virus is a painful rash that typically appears as pustules, or little bumps that look similar to pimples or blisters, other symptoms—and medical testing—will ultimately confirm a person’s diagnosis. Also, not all monkeypox lesions look the same; while some people have full-blown rashes, others have a single, pimple-like bump. Like with any other condition, it’s impossible to know what any given stranger’s current health status is.“In general, we shouldn’t be trying to diagnose people based on looking at them,” Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and a member of the SELF Medical Review Board, tells SELF. “We don’t go up to people and start diagnosing things on their skin with an untrained eye. And I think what has happened with monkeypox is that it’s become very stigmatizing.”Dr. Marchbein is right. Monkeypox is currently spreading predominantly, though not exclusively, via sexual contact between men who have sex with men, which has led some people to discount the seriousness of the virus. Even the name has negative connotations; in June, the World Health Organization announced it is “working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus” after scientists voiced concerns that the current name is discriminatory and stigmatizing. And while monkeypox is caught in the midst of a debate over whether or not it should be referred to as a sexually transmitted infection, Dr. Marchbein emphasizes that thinking of the disease that way is currently incorrect: The virus is widely spreading via close, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not yet determined whether it can be transmitted via bodily fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluid. The CDC also says that monkeypox is not transmissible via “casual conversations” or “walking by someone with monkeypox” in a public space like a grocery store or thrift shop.

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