Monkeypox is a rare infection caused by the monkeypox virus (genus orthopox). Monkeypox virus is closely related to but is distinct from the viruses responsible for smallpox (variola virus) and cowpox. Following the global elimination of smallpox in 1977, Monkeypox became the predominant cause of the orthopox outbreaks that occur for humans, particularly in the countries of West as well as Central Africa.
Infections within these African countries are typically found in forests in remote areas. In 2018 African monkeypox cases were confirmed from Cameroon and The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Nigeria.
In September, two cases of Monkeypox were imported into the U.K. Monkeypox later identified others cases imported from Africa elsewhere in the world.
How do you define Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is an infectious disease that can spread between humans and animals. It is prevalent in many Central and West African countries. However, cases of Monkeypox linked to travel abroad, and imported livestock have also been seen among people who are not from Africa.
The principal disease carrier for Monkeypox is not known. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) could be carriers and transmit the virus to people.
Monkeypox is caused when a person gets infected by the monkeypox virus. Orthopoxvirus is a part of the Variola (smallpox) and vaccinia buffalopox (cowpox), buffalopox, and camelpox virus. Certain strains of the monkeypox virus are different in the degree of virulence they exhibit in non-human primates.
Monkeypox was first identified in 1958, when two cases of a pox-like illness took place in colonies of monkeys used to study, hence the monkeypox name.’ The first case of Monkeypox in humans was reported in 1971 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during an era of increased efforts to eradicate smallpox. Since then, Monkeypox has been observed in people in various eastern and central African countries (see the table below). In 2003, the outbreak in the United States was the only human case of Monkeypox that was confirmed beyond Africa.
Monkeypox’s natural reservoir is not known. Yet, African rodent species are likely to play an important role in the transmission.
Two distinct groups of genetics (clades) of the monkeypox virus -two clades – Central African and West African. West African Monkeypox is associated with less severe disease, fewer deaths, and less human-to-human transmission.
How does Monkeypox get around?
Monkeypox cannot easily be spread between people.
The spread of Monkeypox can be triggered when someone is close to an animal infected (rodents are thought to be the main source of transmission for humans) or an affected human, or any other material infected with the virus.
The virus infects the body via broken skin (even if the breaks aren’t evident), breathing tracts, and mucous membranes (eyes, nose, eyes, and mouth).
Spreading from person to person is rare; however, it can occur:
Contact with linens or clothing (such as towels or bedding) utilized by an infected individual
* Direct contact with skin lesions caused by Monkeypox or scabs
* exposure close to the coughs or sneezes that occur in the person who has a rash caused by Monkeypox
What are the signs of Monkeypox?
The disease begins with:
- Muscle pains
- Swollen lymph nodes
Lesions move through the stages that follow before disappearing:
In the first three to 3 days (sometimes longer) following the onset of fever, A eruption of rashes (often appearing on the face and then expanding to other areas on the body) can develop.
The lesions develop through various phases before fading off. The typical duration of the illness is 2 to 4 weeks. A person is considered infected the moment that symptoms start, until the lesions have formed a crust and separated from the skin and a new surface of healthy skin has grown beneath.
The fatality rate for Monkeypox is estimated to be between 1% and 11 percent.
The incubation duration is 5 to 21 days; however, it is usually 6 to 16 days following exposure. The initial phase of clinical illness typically lasts from one to five days. Patients can experience a mix of chills and fever, headaches, and lymphadenopathy. Myalgia, backache, and exhaustion.
The fever is seen in most patients but not in all. It is followed by another phase in which skin eruption occurs, during which some symptoms and signs, such as fever, might decrease or disappear. The appearance of the rash and appearance of the individual skin eruptions usually change with time.
The rash could appear as a maculopapular rash initially, usually appearing on the face and spreading towards the palms of hands and the soles of the feet.
The initial rash typically develops into bumps and blisters, usually with umbilication, which then crusts and dissemble over two or three weeks.
These distinctive pox lesions tend to be 0.5 to 1cm in size and range between a few and several thousand.
The oral mucous membranes can occur in a variety of cases. Lesions could also appear on the conjunctiva, genitals, and cornea in a few patients.
Rarely localized rashes can be seen in connection with the site of the first exposure. Most patients suffer from mild, self-limiting disease, which completely and quickly occurs within three weeks after the onset.
However, serious illness can be present and, in some cases, lead to death.
Treatment for Monkeypox
There is no known, safe treatment for the monkeypox virus.
To control an outbreak of Monkeypox in the United States, the smallpox vaccine and antivirals and vaccine against vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG) are all available. Find out more about vaccines for smallpox and antivirals, and VIG treatments.
There is no particular treatment for Monkeypox. However, smallpox vaccines can be utilized.
Prevention of Monkeypox
The primary risk for transmission is contact with lesions on the skin or through contact with patients’ linens or clothing that has been in contact with lesions.
Thus, doctors should avoid touching the skin with their bare hands, use disposable gloves, and practice strict hand hygiene.
Patients may present in the initial stages of the disease. Therefore there is a very low chance of contamination from the environment when they first present to primary medical care or during their exam.
If the possibility of Monkeypox is high that the patient should be taken to the hospital, the person should not use the room immediately following transfer. The closest HPT should be contacted to get assistance with cleaning and cleaning.
How can Monkeypox be avoided?
- Do not come into contact with an animal that may be carriers of infection (including animals who are sick or who have been discovered dead in areas in which Monkeypox is common).
- Beware of contact with material such as bedding that has come into contact with a sick animal.
- It is important to isolate infected patients from those at risk of contracting the infection.
- Hands should be cleaned with soap and water, or apply an alcohol-based hand cleanser following contact with animals or people.
- Ensure you wear PPE (personal protective equipment) while caring for sick patients.