How concerned should you be about COVID-19, Monkeypox, and Polio?

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A triple threat of viruses is causing concern for people across the nation. COVID-19, Monkeypox, and now Polio. Local doctors say while cases of COVID and Monkeypox are confirmed in Mississippi, it’s still important to stay alert for all three.

Dr. Stephen Threlkeld says just the thought of the three making people sick can be scary.

“It is not anything new in our world and in our society to have new infections that jump from animals over into people, and that seems to be what we’re experiencing COVID and in Monkeypox,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “And then, unfortunately, some of the things... all of the confusion, some of the controversy in science recommendations have led people to be under-vaccinated, and it’s particularly tragic when you have a disease like Polio that was nearly eradicated from the earth.”

Coronavirus is highly contagious and continues to spread mainly through person-to-person contact.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus. Health officials say transmission can occur with close skin-to-skin contact such as kissing, cuddling, or sex with an infected person. It can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills followed by a rash that turns into pimples and blisters. It can take weeks to clear. Some cases have already been identified in the state.

Then there is Polio. No cases have been confirmed in Mississippi. It has re-emerged in New York, with the Department of Health officials confirming the presence of the virus in wastewater. New York also identified the first person in nearly a decade in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Polio. It is transmitted through contaminated water and food or contact with an infected person. It can cause permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and even death.

Dr. Threkeld is encouraging unvaccinated adults and children to get those immunizations because they could save your life and help prevent these health threats from spreading across the globe.

“It is true that the likelihood right now in America is still low of getting Polio, but the way to change that unfortunately and make it a higher likelihood is for people not to be adequately vaccinated. So if we just do those simple things that we know work, I mean to have fully approved and long-standing vaccines given to our kids and appropriate boosts to adults, then we should be protected from the vast majority of these things,” said Dr. Threkeld.

MSDH offers a two-dose Monkeypox vaccination at selected county health department locations for those with the highest exposure risk.

You can contact your healthcare provider, doctor, or pharmacy regarding the COVID vaccine.

The CDC recommends children get four doses of the Polio vaccine. Most adults likely were already vaccinated against Polio. However, adults who aren’t fully vaccinated or are at higher risk for contact with Polio should get those Polio shots.

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