Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a double-stranded DNA zoonotic (animal to human transmission) virus. In addition, it induces a similar infection just like smallpox.
Monkeypox virus indicates the orthopoxvirus genus. This genus also includes several other classes of viruses. These classes are the variola virus (smallpox virus), vaccinia virus (vaccine for smallpox), and cowpox virus.
Monkeypox is a self-limited disease within a time span of about 2 to 4 weeks. In addition, it is transmitted from one to another due to close contact with the infected person’s secretion.
These secretions are usually body fluids, contaminated materials, and respiratory droplets. Moreover, the monkeypox virus is common in remote areas of West and Central Africa. It may spread to other regions as well.
Monkeypox Outbreak Data
Human monkeypox first appeared in 1970 in Congo in a 9-year-old boy with the elimination of smallpox. From 1996 to 1997, the monkeypox virus was reported in the Congo with an increased attack rate than fatality ratio.
After this, in 2017, Nigeria also experienced monkeypox on a larger scale with a fatality ratio of 3%. In 2003, a monkeypox outbreak in the United States of America was linked to the pet prairie dogs.
Moreover, this monkeypox virus has been reported in several travelers from Nigeria to Israel, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.
In May 2022, several cases of Monkeypox were reported in various non-endemic countries. On 19 may 2022, 38 cases of monkeypox were reported worldwide. There is a list of monkeypox case reports in various countries.
- Belgium – 2 cases of monkeypox
- France – 1 case of monkeypox
- Italy – 1 case of Monkeypox with 2 suspected cases
- Portugal – 14 cases of monkeypox with 20 suspected cases
- Spain – 7 cases of monkeypox
- Sweden – 1 case of monkeypox
- United Kingdom – 9 cases of monkeypox
- Canada – two cases of Monkeypox with additional 17 suspected cases
- United States – one confirmed case of monkeypox with one suspected case
- Australia – one case of monkeypox
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox appears with the primary symptoms of fever, swelling, headache, and backache with pain in muscles. After this, pustules appear in the form of a rash starting from the face. The rash tends to spread to the extremities of the body. It is most common in the palms of the hand and soles of the feet.
These pustules are itchy and extremely painful. In addition, these lesions pass through several stages from scab to a scar. There are several stages of lesions like macules, papules, vesicles, pustules, scabs, and ultimately scars.
Moreover, monkeypox is similar to smallpox with a difference in swollen lymph nodes. This condition lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox is reported to cause death in 1 in every 10 monkeypox-infected persons in Africa.
How can you get infected with the monkeypox virus?
Monkeypox can transmit from one person to another very quickly. People can get infected with monkeypox due to close contact with the person or animal infected with the monkeypox virus.
Moreover, the monkeypox virus can transmit from animals to humans through damaged skin lesions, bites or scratches, and direct contact with animals’ body secretions like blood or pox lesions.
Monkeypox can also transfer from person to person contact as well. It occurs when a person comes in contact with the virus particles from the infected person.
Virus particles spatter in the air when the infected person sneezes or coughs. Other people can inhale these tiny droplets. In this way, you may get an infection directly from the infected person.
Moreover, you may get the infection by direct contact with contaminated materials like clothes, bedding, and other materials used by the infected persons.
How can we diagnose the monkeypox virus?
Monkeypox virus infection is rare in the human population. Your doctor may suspect the infection as a minor illness such as rash or chickenpox. But, swollen lymph nodes differentiate the monkeypox from other poxvirus infections.
For proper diagnosis, your physician may take a tissue sample for biopsy purposes. Moreover, you may need to provide a blood sample to identify the virus and antibodies against the virus for the defense mechanism. In this way, the monkeypox virus can be diagnosed with proper management.
How can we prevent monkeypox from spreading?
Vaccination against smallpox can also protect from monkeypox infection. Prevention of monkeypox mainly depends on the decreased contact with the infected animals, person, and materials.
Limiting the contact can help you to avoid transmission of the infection from one to another. There are some ways to prevent monkeypox infection.
- Avoid contacting the diseased or infected animals
- Avoid contact with the contaminated materials with the monkeypox virus-like clothes, towels, etc
- Wash your hands properly with some soap and water after contact with the infected animal or person.
- Cook the meat thoroughly to prevent infection
- Ensure using the personal protective equipment in the hospital
- Maintain the protective measures while handling the infected persons
How to treat monkeypox infection?
At this time, there is no such safer treatment available for monkeypox infection. Antivirals can help to limit the infection. But, there are no such studies available regarding the treatment of monkeypox. Your healthcare worker may relieve the symptoms only to relieve the infection.
An adequate fluid supply with a proper diet can help to maintain nutritional status. Secondary infection should be treated aggressively. Besides this, prevention is the only cure available for the management of monkeypox infection.
Monkeypox infection is a rare disease that may spread from infected animals to humans through contact. Initially, minor symptoms like fever, body pain, and muscle ache appear.
After this, rashes start to appear from the face to the upper and lower extremities of the body. This condition is severely painful.
The only way to manage monkeypox is to prevent it. Avoid contacting the infected person or animal. Break the chain of contact to prevent the spread of monkeypox.
Till now, no such confirmed medication is available for the monkeypox. Smallpox Vaccination may provide a little bit of protection from monkeypox.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is monkeypox infection more fatal than the other poxvirus infection?
Monkeypox infection is milder than smallpox. Being a milder infection, it can be fatal in the human population. Monkeypox virus can cause death in 10% of cases.
What is the mortality rate of monkeypox?
According to the center for disease control and prevention, monkeypox causes the death of every 1 in 10 infected cases.