CHAMPAIGN, Ill (WCIA) — The country has been fighting the COVID-19 global health emergency for about two-and-a-half years. But time moves quickly, and so do viruses.
Now, you’re hearing about monkeypox, which the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. It’s already made its way to central Illinois; Champaign County Public Health confirmed its second case of monkeypox Wednesday and Sangamon County is investigating a probable case.
But cases are limited for now.
“It’s a very challenging and unique time and I’m sure we’ll be telling our kids and our future generations the stories about how we lived through these times for sure,” said Dr. Sharjeel Ahmad, an Infectious Disease Doctor at OSF HealthCare.
Ahmad said each virus belongs to a different family of viruses.
“The monkeypox is more radiated to the smallpox virus’s family,” Ahmad said. “The coronavirus was RNA vs DNA, so they’re completely different species and the mode of transmission is different for the most part.”
Early stages of monkeypox include fever and fatigue, just to name a couple. So what’s the biggest difference between monkeypox and COVID?
“We don’t see issues initially with breathing problems and stuff [with Monkeypox],” Ahmad said. “But COVID, we worry more about sore throat and pneumonia and stuff.”
Ahmad said early stages might look similar, but monkeypox develops into a rash. He recommended knowing your risk factors.
“In the U.S., [when] you have been around with somebody that has been enclosed or intimate contact or somebody’s who suspected or found to be monkeypox, that’s when you worry more about monkeypox,” Ahmad said.
He is relieved the WHO declared it an emergency.
“That means we can mobilize our resources worldwide to tackle this,” Ahmad said. “I think this is a lesson learned from the COVID pandemic to try to tackle the issue before it turns into, things get crazier.”
More information about how to prevent monkeypox can be found on the CDC’s website.