Your medical practice may be affected by yet another disease outbreak. Monkeypox is currently spreading all over the world – 41,358 cases as of writing this article. Continue reading to learn more about this unfamiliar virus and how to prevent it from affecting your practice.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family as the smallpox virus. And as the name indicates, it’s a zoonotic disease transmitted from animals (monkeys, as well as rats and squirrels) to humans.
Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox, making it difficult to diagnose. These include flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, fatigue and a rash. However, it also causes swollen lymph nodes, distinguishing it from other similar infectious diseases.
Is Monkeypox the New COVID-19?
No, it isn’t. Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox is not a new viral disease. It’s an endemic (common) disease in Central and West Africa – first discovered in 1958. Nonetheless, it’s a disease to be worried about as it is now spreading rapidly across international borders.
Also, monkeypox doesn’t spread as quickly as COVID-19. It isn’t infectious until the rash symptoms appear and infected people are easier to identify. Hence, it’s unlikely to become a global catastrophe.
Moreover, its symptoms are less severe than COVID-19, and even smallpox. And although there are no specific treatments for monkeypox, it can be managed with therapeutics and prevented with the smallpox vaccine.
How Monkeypox Spreads & Can Affect Your Practice
Monkeypox spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons. It can also be contracted through indirect contact with the fluids in contaminated clothing, equipment, materials or surfaces.
Your employees are at risk of getting infected when a patient with monkeypox visits your practice. Beyond the risk of infection during patient care, employees like medical assistants are at more risk when handling beddings of infected patients.
And, if your employees are infected, they may have to self-isolate at home to prevent spread. This means less productivity, which will affect your practice. With fewer staff available to attend to clients, customer satisfaction may reduce.
Also, you’ll spend more on cleaning and disinfecting your equipment and materials to prevent the spread of the disease. You may have to fumigate your practice if you have a high number of cases as the virus doesn’t get destroyed easily.
How To Prevent Monkeypox From Affecting Your Practice
Atlanta has recorded over 1000 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of August 17. So, it’s time to ensure that your employees get updated information on monkeypox, and make policies to prevent the outbreak from affecting your practice.
Although monkeypox isn’t as bad as COVID-19, you don’t want your employees to miss a monkeypox diagnosis and get infected. So, share helpful resources with employees and put up posters to create more awareness among patients.
Furthermore, provide PPE such as face masks and gloves and enforce their use when dealing with suspected monkeypox cases. Also, make sure that frequently contacted surfaces are disinfected routinely.