Exclusive: Dr. Leslie Matthews Gives Advice On How To Stay Safe From Monkeypox

Exclusive: Dr. Leslie Matthews Gives Advice On How To Stay Safe From Monkeypox

For the first time, the monkeypox virus has taken hold in the U.S., with more than 15,400 cases across the 50 states.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), the rare disease was first discovered in Denmark in 1958. However, it has mostly been found in Central and Western Africa and stayed in that area for a long period before spreading across the globe.

Dr. Leslie Matthews, a celebrated surgeon and Vitamin D expert, has extensive knowledge on monkeypox, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you think you have it.

“Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus and this virus is very similar to smallpox,” Matthews told  BLACK ENTERPRISE. “The difference is smallpox has a mortality rate of over 90%, the mortality rate for monkeypox is just 1%. What it does is it causes scales and boils that form all over your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.”

Worldwide, there are currently about 35,000 cases and almost a third are located in the U.S., which led the Biden Administration to declare it a public health emergency. While the medical community has been slow to react to the monkeypox virus, there is a reason for it beyond the poor planning and execution of the Trump Administration and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Well, I think the reaction from the medical community has been kind of slow because we’ve never seen monkeypox outbreaks in the United States before,” Dr. Matthews said.

“It starts off as a rash and most doctors just think it’s a regular rash, but the way you diagnose monkeypox is you take a swab of the rash then send it off for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing and so I think doctors are being educated as we go along at the present time. In the past, they didn’t have any exposure or experience with it so quite a few cases got lost initially but I think we’re catching up and coming up to speed.”

Monkeypox causes boils and severe pain that hospitalize many of those who have the virus. But it can also lead to pneumonia and meningitis, so while its mortality rate is very low, monkeypox can lead to some serious infections.

Dr. Matthews provided a few ways you can protect yourself from catching the monkeypox virus, including the timeless suggestion of washing your hands regularly.

“The best way to protect yourself from the monkeypox virus is to avoid kissing, hugging or direct contact with anyone with a suspected rash of monkeypox,” Dr. Matthews suggested.

“Don’t wear clothes of anybody who’s had monkeypox or sleep in the same bed linens. Always practice good hand hygiene, and wash your hands if you’re around anybody exposed to it. It can also be transmitted sexually, so be very careful in that area.”

Dr. Matthews added that there are currently two varieties of the monkeypox vaccine. One, which is specifically for monkeypox, and the smallpox vaccine, which is about 80% effective when it comes to monkeypox.

There are currently about 500,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine and another 500,000 doses are due next month. While there aren’t enough doses for all 320 million Americans, the monkeypox virus is nowhere the levels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you think you have monkeypox, the next step is seeking medical help with your primary physician and then observing yourself for any developmental rashes, fever, headache, and sore throat,” Dr. Matthews told BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“If you have those then you definitely need to seek medical help, the symptoms usually last two to four weeks and the rest will clear up.”