MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Over the past few weeks doctors in the Mid-South have been getting questions from their patients about monkeypox.
“I don’t have any patients right now who we suspect to have monkeypox. But because of what we are hearing in the news and the awareness that is being brought for monkeypox, I do have patients that are asking questions,” Dr. Mazumder said.
Dr. Shirin Mazumder is an infectious disease specialist for Methodist Healthcare. She says despite the uptick in monkeypox cases globally, there is no need to be concerned.
“For the general population the risk is low, but I do think that we may see an increase in cases, so it is important for us to keep an eye on things and also bring awareness to the community,” Dr. Mazumder said.
Monkeypox is not new. It is just unfamiliar to most people in the United States.
“I think there is a concern right now because there are cases globally in an area that is not used to seeing monkeypox. This is not something that we see in north America or Europe,” Dr. Mazumder said.
She says it is a milder form of smallpox that typically clears up in a couple of weeks. Researchers have looked at seven cases of monkeypox since 2018 and found two antivirals had the potential to shorten symptoms and reduce the amount of time a patient is contagious.
“There are medications for smallpox that are likely to be effective for monkeypox but the majority of cases are just mild and resolve on their own,” Dr. Mazumder said.
She says smallpox vaccines are also effective — and children who contract the disease could have more severe symptoms.
“There are some reports children may have a chance of having severe illness as well as immunocompromised patients,” Dr. Mazumder said.
Doctors say the mortality rate with this strain of monkeypox is less than 1%.