Monkeypox is a highly contagious virus that can cause serious health problems in humans. It is most common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
It usually spread through contact with respiratory secretions, blood, or saliva from an infected person.
Can cause fever, rash, muscle aches, and pneumonia. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but it can be prevented by avoiding close contact with monkeys and other infected animals.
What Causes Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is one of the human Orthopoxvirus along with variola, cowpox, and vaccinia viruses.
Two outbreaks of a disease resembling the pox in colonies of monkeys kept for research led to the discovery of monkeypox in 1958. Despite being called “monkeypox,” the disease’s origin is still a mystery.
However, the virus may be carried by African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) and infect humans. It’s spread mainly through human contact with infected rodents, but can sometimes be spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
There are two known types (clades) of monkeypox virus — one that originated in Central Africa and one that originated in West Africa. The less severe West African clade causes the current world outbreak (2022).
Monkeypox Virus Outbreak
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries.
The first confirmed case was traced to an individual with travel links to Nigeria (where the disease is endemic) and was detected on 6 May 2022. The outbreak marked the first time monkeypox has spread widely outside Central and West Africa.
From 18 May onwards, cases were reported from an increasing number of countries and regions, predominantly in Europe but also in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
As of 23 July, there have been a total of 17,186 confirmed cases. On 23 July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), raising the outbreak’s status to a global health emergency.
It could take days or even weeks after exposure before you experience symptoms. Early indications of monkeypox include symptoms similar to the flu-like:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
After a few days, a rash often develops. The rash starts as flat, red bumps, which can be painful. Those bumps turn into blisters, which fill with pus. Eventually, the blisters crust over and fall off — the whole process can last two to four weeks.
You can also get sores in your mouth, vagina or anus. Not everyone with monkeypox develops all of the symptoms. You can have it and not know it. But even if you don’t show any signs of infection, you can still spread it to others through prolonged close contact.
There are no specific treatments for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
If you have monkeypox symptoms, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
Prevention depends on decreasing human contact with infected animals and limiting person-to-person spread. The best way to prevent the virus that causes monkeypox from spreading is to:
- Avoid contact with people who may be infected with the virus.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Avoid contact with infected animals (especially sick or dead animals).
- Avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus.
- Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts.
- Practice safe sex.
- Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when around others.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for people infected with the virus.
What is the Difference?
Differences Between Monkeypox and Smallpox
Smallpox and monkeypox are both parts of the orthopoxvirus family, so they’re caused by similar but distinct viruses. The main differentiation between monkeypox and smallpox is that, in addition to flu-like symptoms, monkeypox results in a lymph node or gland enlargement. Monkeypox is not as highly contagious as smallpox which spread more easily.
Differences Between Monkeypox and Chickenpox
Both diseases are caused by different viruses: chickenpox is brought on by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes shingles, whereas monkeypox is caused by an orthopoxvirus. Direct touch with skin lesions, newly contaminated objects, and close contact with respiratory droplets are all ways that these viruses can spread.
Note From Thehealthi
Recently, World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency.
This can be incredibly challenging because some regions of the world have not fully recovered from the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic. But, monkeypox is a rare kind of viral disease.
It’s spread through close contact with an infected person, animal or object. You can stay protective by avoiding contact with people who are infected, washing your hands frequently and wearing a face mask in the crowd.
Early signs of monkeypox include fever, chills, body ache and flu-like. After a couple of days, a rash will start to appear. If you develop any of these signs, consult your healthcare professional.