If the world has learned anything from the past several years, it is that personal health is a precious commodity and the world is more interconnected than we perhaps had first thought. We can pretend that what is affecting the other side of the globe will never be reckoned with in the United States, but that is clearly wishful thinking. After learning this lesson firsthand after 2.5 years of battling the coronavirus, monkeypox has now reared its ugly head and the United States is seeing more cases of this cropping up across the country.

Although monkeypox is not a new disease, since the eradication of smallpox, some scientists are worried that monkeypox will take its place. Monkeypox is not particularly deadly but is certainly a disturbing disease to encounter.

“It’s transmitted through open lesions, touching, mucus membranes or large droplets,” said Dr. Jonathan Colasanti, medical director at the Grady Health System’s Infectious Disease Program at their Ponce de Leon Center.

The last outbreak in the United States was in 2003, but monkeypox is currently making a move in Atlanta, Georgia and in other places around the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 160 cases of the monkeypox virus in Georgia, up 50% from just last week. There are more than 2,500 cases across the nation.

Monkeypox is characterized by fever, lethargy, headaches, and muscle aches, as well as a rash that resembles pus-filled blisters. Currently, most of the patients diagnosed with monkeypox are gay men,but doctors note that it is not exclusive to this population. “I think it’s really important not to color this as a gay disease or homosexual disease. Anybody can get it,” Colasanti said.“It’s a skin-to-skin disease. There’s no such thing as gay skin or straight skin. But I feel like it’s irresponsible. It heaps a bunch of unnecessary stigma onto same-gender-loving people,” Larry Walker said.

He is the director of THRIVE SS, an Atlanta-based organization that provides support to Black, gay, and bisexual men living with HIV.

There are several vaccines available, and the smallpox vaccine is considered 85% effective against monkeypox. Experts say if you haven’t had a smallpox vaccine in the last 3 years and think you may have been exposed to monkeypox, that you should get one.

This is just another example of global health issues that need to be brought to the forefront of the conversation and dealt with, as many experts say this outbreak could have been prevented because the warning signs were there.

According to Adnan Zai, Advisor to Berkeley Capital, “It seems as though it was a matter of time before society would need to start seriously thinking about global health as a concern that disrupts life, daily work, and the global economy. This was the stuff that Hollywood would write scripts about, and now it has all come true.”

For now, there is one more disease to look out for, and another reason to quarantine for those who may have been exposed. Hollywood has nothing on real life, and people should start paying attention.