What to Know About Monkeypox

What to Know About Monkeypox

Claremont Colonic Monkeypox
Total cases reported worldwide remain low but have begun to rise sharply, and they likely represent an underestimate, experts say.
The rare monkeypox virus, usually confined mostly to Central and West Africa, has spread in unusual ways this year, and among populations that have not been vulnerable in the past.

President Biden has said that “everybody should be concerned about” the rise in cases. The transmissions have created some alarm among officials and infectious disease experts, while a Covid-weary world is on high alert for new outbreaks.

From the beginning of the year until June 27, there were 3,413 confirmed cases worldwide and one death, in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. Cases have been concentrated among gay men. The U.S. has begun a vaccination campaign, although critics have protested that it is too limited to be effective.

Here’s what to know about monkeypox and the risks it poses.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus endemic in parts of Central and West Africa. It is similar to but less severe than smallpox, which is caused by a related virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It was discovered in 1958, after outbreaks occurred in monkeys kept for research, the C.D.C. said.

While there remains debate among scientists about how exactly to describe the sexual transmissibility of monkeypox, sexual contact does appear to be a driver of the virus’s current spread.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox creates a rash that starts with flat red marks that become raised and filled with pus. Infected people will also have a fever and body aches.

Symptoms typically appear in six to 13 days but can take as long as three weeks after exposure. They can last for two to four weeks, with severe cases occurring more commonly among children, according to the World Health Organization.

The C.D.C. says there is “no proven, safe treatment” for monkeypox but the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of smallpox vaccines and antiviral treatments to control outbreaks.

How infectious is it?

Typically, it does not lead to major outbreaks — in most years there are just a handful of cases outside Africa, if any. The most severe outbreak in the United States came in 2003, when dozens of cases were linked to exposure to infected prairie dogs and other pets. It was the first time there had been a monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

In Africa, 11 countries have reported cases since 1970, when the first human case was identified in a 9-year-old boy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nigeria has experienced a large outbreak, with more than 500 suspected cases and 200 confirmed cases since 2017, the W.H.O. said.

“Most cases presented with lesions on the genitalia or peri-genital area, indicating that transmission likely occurs during close physical contact during sexual activities,” the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in May.

How many cases have there been this year, and where have they been?

The monkeypox outbreak has been concentrated in Europe, with 86 percent of total cases, the W.H.O. says. There have been just over 300 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of late June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases have appeared in several countries without any known source of infection, which suggests undetected community spread. Genetic analysis indicates that monkeypox has been quietly circulating since 2018.

The first confirmed case in the U.S. was diagnosed in Massachusetts on May 18 in a man who had recently traveled to Canada. As of June 28, New York City had reported 55 cases.

Europe has been hit harder. Britain leads the world with 793 cases; Germany comes in at second, with 521; and Spain is just behind, with 520, the W.H.O. said.

Experts say these figures do not fully reflect the reality of monkeypox’s spread. “It’s pretty clear to me and I think many others that the epidemic is far larger in magnitude than what our official case counts suggest it is,” Dr. Jay Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response, told The New York Times.

The W.H.O. has emphasized that while monkeypox may infect anyone, it is being identified particularly in communities of men who have sex with men.

How is the current outbreak different?

This is the first time that chains of transmission were reported in Europe without links to West or Central Africa, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The agency also said this year’s cases included the first that have been reported among men who have sex with men.

Should I be worried?

The likelihood of the virus being spread during sexual contact is high, but the risk of transmission from other forms of close contact is low, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said.

The symptoms are typically mild, and most people recover within weeks, but the virus has had a fatality rate of about 3.3 percent in Nigeria, with children, young adults and immunocompromised people most susceptible.

Federal health officials announced on June 28 that clinics nationwide will provide vaccinations against monkeypox to anyone who might have been exposed. Officials estimate that 1.6 million doses will be made available by the end of the year.

In a guest essay in The New York Times, Dr. Varma, who is also a professor at Weill Cornell Medical School, warned that the nation was repeating mistakes it made responding to the coronavirus, like “limited access to testing, contact tracing, vaccination and isolation support, and scant data from public health officials about how and where people are being infected.”

A previous outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. in 2003 appeared to end after infecting only 71 Americans. But Dr. Varma wrote that he and other experts fear that monkeypox could now wind up becoming an entrenched sexually transmitted infection like syphilis and H.I.V.

Contributors: Daniel Victor and Alex Traub – NYTimes.com

Study Finds Being ‘Hangry’ is a Real Thing

Study Finds Being 'Hangry' is a Real Thing

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
Researchers say being hungry can make you more irritable and darken your mood.

New research finds that being “hangry,” a combination of hungry and angry, is a genuine mental state. Experts say that being able to identify hunger-related emotions provides clues about how we can deal with them.

They also say that anyone noticing a significant drop in mood or change in irritability should speak with a doctor regarding their blood sugar levels and other markers.

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another – a pang of hunger that darkens your mood and can make you lash out at the slightest provocation.

It’s popularly called being “hangry,” both hungry and angry.

Now, researchTrusted Source published today suggests not only is this emotional state genuine, but that hunger can influence our behavior in other ways.

Viren Swami, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in England, told Healthline his wife was one of the reasons he decided to conduct this study.

“My wife is often saying that I’m hangry, but I didn’t think being hangry was real,” he admitted. “But mainly because I’m interested in the impact of hunger and eating on human emotions and behaviors.”

For this study, researchers used the experience sampling methodTrusted Source to gather data that they used to better understand the ways that hunger can affect emotional outcomes in our everyday lives.

According to the researchers, the study participants were invited to respond to prompts asking them to complete brief surveys on multiple, semi-random occasions throughout the day. There were 121 participants at the start, with 76 completing at least one survey per day for 21 days. A total of 64 participants completed the study by responding to the final questionnaire.

Participants were from 18 to 60 years old with an average age of 30. They were predominantly women.

Hunger associated with anger, irritability

During the three-week study period, participants responded to survey prompts five times per day.

These prompts asked participants to rate their emotional state as well as their feelings of hunger, irritability, and anger. They were also asked about how much time had passed since they last ate.

During the final questionnaire, researchers looked at different dietary behaviors, such as whether or not people ate when they felt irritated or when they had nothing to do.

They also assessed anger using the Buss and Perry Aggression Questionnaire, a commonly used tool to measure aggression in adults.

The researchers said the findings indicated that hunger was significantly associated with greater anger and irritability as well as lower pleasure over the study period of three weeks.

Swami said his study confirms that being “hangry” is real and that our feelings of hunger do negatively affect our emotions.

“Also, that being able to label those emotions, ‘I am hangry,’ provides clues about how those emotions can be dealt with,” he added.

Is there a physiological reason?

“We know in general that when we experience emotions our minds survey our internal physiological states in order to construct an assessment of our mood,” said Dr. Timothy B. Sullivan, the chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital, part of Northwell Health in New York.

He explained that for this reason, it’s easy to understand that states of hunger, or other conditions of physiological vulnerability, can “trick” our minds into associating those physiological sensations with moods.

“Indeed, the Theory of Constructed Emotion holds that mood states are fundamentally, largely a consequence of that process of introspection,” Sullivan told Healthline.

Concerns over the data

Sullivan pointed out that self-reports are one of the weakest sources of data.

“And in this instance, it is not clear whether or how the investigators could have blinded the subjects to the purpose of the study,” he said.

Sullivan concluded that, for this reason, “there is a strong possibility of confounding in that the subjects may have been cued to associate anger with periods of hunger.”

Findings aren’t surprising

“I’m not surprised at these findings,” said Dr. Alex Dimitriu, an expert in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California as well as BrainfoodMD.

“In the end, we are biological creatures and are programmed to get our needs met,” he told Healthline. “Part of that is being uncomfortable until we get what we need.”

Dimitriu noted that in his experience he’s seen pain, such as headaches or back pain, physical discomfort, and being sleep deprived, as reasons people can become irritable and aggressive.

“Anyone who notices a significant drop in mood or energy or change in irritability with hunger should at some point speak with a doctor and make sure blood sugar levels and lab values are within normal limits,” he advised.

Previous research on hunger

This isn’t the first time that researchers have explored hunger’s effect on psychology.

Research that was published in 2013 analyzed the behavior of hungry people across 10 studies.

The findings showed that hungry people made more errors doing tasks and tended to have less self-control.

The researchers also analyzed data from war zones and reported that societal hunger could predict war killings, which they attributed to diminished self-control with aggression.

The study authors also reported that hunger made people more likely to think negative thoughts about racial minorities as well as increased thoughts about death.

Contributor: Healthline.com

Protect Your Hearing This July 4th

Protect Your Hearing This July 4th

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
While fireworks may be bright and beautiful, they’re also noisy.
And a single loud blast or explosion that lasts less than a second can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) warns.
“The Fourth of July, perhaps more than any other holiday, is associated with loud noise,” said Janice Trent, vice president for audiology practice for ASHA’s Board of Directors. “Some people may opt for quieter celebrations —but for those that don’t, we encourage them to use basic hearing protection in the form of earplugs.”

Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, ASHA noted as it offered a series of tips for enjoying the holiday safely.

Wearing hearing protection is a must, it said. Earplugs are inexpensive, easy to find and use, and do a great job of keeping ears safe, Trent said. For young children, she recommended well-fitting earmuffs. Both earplugs and earmuffs are available in stores and online.

Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible and can happen at any age, she pointed out.

Besides wearing hearing protection, keep your distance from noise sources, such as at fireworks launch site. The closer you are, ASHA emphasized, the more likely you are to hurt your ears.

Impulse noise greater than 140 dBP, or decibel peak pressure, will instantly damage hearing. At 3 feet, fireworks and firecrackers can measure 150 dBP. Safe listening levels are between 75 to 80 decibels.

Leave if you have ringing in your ears or any other ear discomfort, Trent advised.

If you have pain, ringing or difficulty hearing after loud events, contact an audiologist for a hearing evaluation, she added.

Contributor: Cara Murez – U.S. News & World Report