Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox caused by the monkeypox virus. It is mostly found in areas of Africa, but has been observed in other areas of the world. It causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, and a rash that can take weeks to clear up. There is no proven cure for monkeypox, but it usually goes away on its own.

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. This leads to rash and flu-like symptoms. Like the better known virus that causes smallpox, it is a member of the family known as orthopoxviruses. Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 after two outbreaks of smallpox-like disease occurred in groups of monkeys being used for research. It is mainly spread through human contact with infected rodents, but can sometimes be spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. There are two known clades of monkeypox virus - one that originated in Central Africa and one that originated in West Africa. The current world outbreak (2022) is caused by the less severe West African clade.

How Common Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is rare. But the number of cases is increasing in Africa as well as in regions that have not seen these infections before.

Where Else Is Monkeypox Found?

Monkeypox was mostly seen in Africa. However, it is occasionally found in other countries, including the United States. In the spring of 2003, the first outbreak of monkeypox outside Africa occurred in the U.S. happened in A shipment of infected animals from Ghana was imported into Texas. Infected rodents spread the virus to domesticated prairie dogs, which then infected 47 people in the Midwest.

As international travel becomes more common, viruse that were once confined to certain places can more easily spread around the world. In the summer of 2021, a case of monkeypox was detected in a US resident who had traveled from Nigeria to the United States. Then, 2022 brought the outbreak to areas outside Africa, including Europe, the Americas and Australia.

Who Does Monkeypox Affect?

Monkeypox can happen to anyone. In Africa, most cases are in children under the age of 15. Outside Africa, the disease appears to be more common in men who have sex with men, but there are many cases that do not fall into that category.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Monkeypox?

After exposure, it may take a several days to a few weeks for you to develop symptoms. Early symptoms of monkeypox include flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

After a few days, a rash often develops. The rash begins as flat, red bumps, which can be painful. Those blisters turn into blisters, which are filled with pus. Eventually, the blisters pop up and fall off – the whole process can last from two weeks to four weeks. You may also have sores in your mouth, vagina, or anus.

Not everyone with monkeypox develops all the symptoms. In fact, in the current (2022) outbreak, many cases are not following the usual pattern of symptoms. This unusual presentation includes only a few sores, no swollen lymph nodes, low fever, and other signs of illness. You can have it and not know it. Even if you don't show many signs of infection, you can still spread it to others through prolonged close contact.

How Do You Catch Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus. Animal-to-person transmission occurs through broken skin, such as from a bite or scratch, or through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, or smallpox sores of an infected animal.

Monkeypox can be spread from person to person, but it is less common. Person-to-person spread occurs when you come into contact with an infected person's sores, scabs, respiratory droplets or oral fluids, usually through close, intimate situations such as hugging, kissing or sex. Research is ongoing, but researchers are not sure whether the virus is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids.

You can also get monkeypox from recently coming into contact with contaminated material such as clothing, bedding and other linens that have been used by an infected person or an infected animal.

How Is Monkeypox Diagnosed?

Monkeypox is rare, a healthcare provider may first suspect other rash diseases, such as measles or chickenpox. But swollen lymph nodes usually differentiate monkeypox from other chickenpox.

To diagnose monkeypox, your healthcare provider takes a tissue sample from an open wound (lesion). Then, they send it to a lab for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing (genetic fingerprinting). You may also need to give a blood sample to check for the monkeypox virus or antibodies made by your immune system to protect it.

Post a Comment