It appears state officials are prepared to inundate Alaskans with news, updates and endless data points on yet another virus, with the mainstream media lapping up press releases and spewing out alarming headlines.

This time, we’re going to hear about Monkeypox, a virus that mainly affects homosexual men through contact with bodily fluids. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine released a study last month showing that 98% of people infected with monkeypox outside of Africa were bisexual or homosexual.

A July 29 alert from Alaska’s Department of Health announced the state’s first case of monkeypox, an Anchorage resident who did not require hospitalization.

While the state admits that the disease “does not spread easily between people,” and the “risk of infection remains low for the general population,” the Department of Health has already rolled out a detailed and ever-growing webpage dedicated exclusively to all things Monkeypox. This includes surveillance data, factsheets, situation reports, treatment plans, safe sex advice, vaccination updates, health alerts and much, much more.

State epidemiologists are now attempting to ID and track those who “may have been exposed” to Monkeypox, with close contacts being notified and encouraged to test. Where have we seen this before?

The reality is that this is primarily a disease that infects the very small number of people who engage in homosexual “sex.” Transmission happens from skin-to-skin contact with body fluids, through direct contact with contaminated items such as bedding or clothing, and through exposure to respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Those who contract Monkeypox will typically experience a fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, exhaustion and a rash. The sickness last about 2-4 weeks.

While those who contract the virus should certainly stay home and contact their doctor (like we all do when coming down with an illness), the general population does not need an endless diet of alerts and health warnings – no more than we need to hear about every new case of the flu or chickenpox.

How government officials address Monkeypox will reveal a lot about whether every new disease outbreak will now be harnessed to scare the masses and empower the government to ultimately control ever more spheres of our public and private lives.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Alaskans don’t need an endless dose of Monkeypox fearmongering

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.