Monkeypox in 5 Questions
In this article, you will find answers to 5 questions about Monkey pox.
• What is monkeypox?
• How is the monkeypox virus transmitted?
• What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?
• What is the diagnosis and treatment of monkeypox virus?
• What are the ways to protect yourself from the monkeypox virus?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox virus belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae.
The genus Orthopoxvirus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.
Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two smallpox-like outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies held for research.
Despite being called “monkey pox,” the source of the disease is unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) can harbor the virus and infect humans.
The first case of monkeypox in humans was recorded in 1970.
Since then, monkeypox has been reported in humans in several other Central and West African countries.
Before the 2022 outbreak, nearly all cases of monkeypox in humans outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where
the disease is common, or to imported animals.
Monkeypox Disease Signs and Symptoms
The incubation period of monkeypox (the interval from infection to the onset of symptoms) is usually 6 to 13 days, but can range from 5 to 21 days.
Infection can be divided into two periods:
• Invasion period (lasting 0-5 days) characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes), back pain, myalgia (muscle aches), and intense asthenia (lack of energy).
• Lymphadenopathy is a distinguishing feature of monkeypox when compared to other diseases that may initially appear similar (chickenpox, measles, smallpox).
• The skin rash usually starts 1-3 days after the fever appears.
• The rash tends to be more concentrated on the face and extremities rather than the trunk. It affects the face (95% of cases) and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75% of cases).
• Oral mucosa (70% of cases), genital area (30%) and conjunctiva (20%) and cornea are also affected.
• The rash develops from macules (flat-bottomed lesions) to papules (slightly raised firm lesions), vesicles (lesions filled with clear fluid), pustules (lesions filled with yellowish fluid), and crusts that dry out.
• The number of lesions varies from a few to several thousand. In severe cases, the lesions may coalesce until large sections of the skin have been shed.
Monkeypox is a self-limiting illness with symptoms that usually last 2 to 4 weeks.
Severe cases are more common among children and are related to the degree of exposure to the virus, the patient’s state of health, and the nature of complications.
Underlying immune deficiencies can lead to worse outcomes.
Although vaccination against smallpox was protective in the past, people aged 40 to 50 (depending on country) today may be more susceptible to monkey disease due to the discontinuation of smallpox vaccination campaigns worldwide after the disease has been eradicated.
Complications of monkeypox include secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and corneal infection resulting in vision loss.
Protect Yourself from the Monkeypox Virus
Raising awareness of risk factors and educating people about measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus is the main prevention strategy for monkeypox.
Scientific studies are ongoing to evaluate the feasibility and suitability of vaccination for the prevention and control of monkeypox.
Some countries have or are developing policies to offer vaccines to people who may be at risk, such as laboratory personnel, rapid response teams, and healthcare workers.
Reducing the Risk of Human-to-Human Transmission
Surveillance and rapid identification of new cases are critical to contain the epidemic.
During human monkeypox epidemics, close contact with infected individuals is the most important risk factor for monkeypox virus infection.
Healthcare workers and households are at a greater risk of infection.
Healthcare workers caring for or taking samples from patients with suspected or confirmed parakex virus infection should follow standard infection control precautions.
If possible, individuals previously vaccinated against smallpox should be selected for patient care.
Samples from humans and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be performed by trained personnel working in appropriately equipped laboratories.
Patient specimens should be safely prepared for transport in triple packaging in accordance with WHO guidance on the transport of infectious agents.
In May 2022, it is atypical to identify clusters of monkeypox cases in several non-endemic countries with no direct travel link to an endemic area.
Reducing the Risk of Zoonotic Transmission
Over time, most human infections resulted from primary, animal-to-human transmission.
Unprotected contact with wild animals, especially sick or dead animals, including their meat, blood and other parts, should be avoided.
In addition, all food containing animal meat or parts should be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Monkeypox in 5 Questions references
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