Top 5 things you must need to know about monkeypox disease
Monkeypox, an infectious disease that is difficult to transmit among humans, has now been reported in seven cases in the UK. A traveler returning from Nigeria is believed to have brought the first case to the UK on 7 May 2022. Two more cases of monkeypox were identified a week later, but health officials said they were unrelated to the first case.
- Close contact between individuals can transfer it to them
Infected wild animals such as rats and monkeys found in the rainforests of central and west Africa often transmit the virus to humans, although human-to-human transmission is also possible. Similar to viruses such as Ebola, transmission occurs only when infected items such as contaminated bedding or clothing come into contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, or both.
2. Body-wide pustules are caused by it.
Although it can take up to 21 days, symptoms often begin to appear five to 13 days after infection. Fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain, enlarged lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue are some of the first symptoms. When a fever first appears, a rash usually breaks out first, focusing on the hands, feet, and face before moving to other parts of the body. It has the potential to spread to the eye, genitals and inside the mouth. The rash worsens as it forms a scab and falls off; in certain circumstances, even large pieces of skin can peel off from the body.
Symptoms often resolve after a month, but one in ten cases can be fatal. Children are particularly vulnerable.
3. PCR testing is required for diagnosis.
Because many other diseases, including chickenpox and measles, can cause a rash, WHO recommends diagnosis when identification is required. They argue that this can only be done using PCR testing because orthopoxviruses can produce antigens and antibodies that resemble antigens and antibodies of other related viruses, so tests for these viruses cannot identify the virus as monkeypox.
4. Although there is no treatment at the moment, there is a (very old) vaccination.
The WHO does not currently recommend a specific therapy for monkeypox, however, antivirals such as tecovirimat that are approved to fight orthopoxviruses do exist.
Years ago, the smallpox vaccine was necessary to eradicate smallpox, and this vaccination can be quite effective in preventing monkeypox (85%). However, first-generation smallpox vaccination is no longer offered to the general population. A newer vaccinia-based vaccination was approved in 2019 to protect against smallpox and monkeypox but is also not yet widely available.
5. It is brought on by a virus like smallpox.
The same virus that causes smallpox, now completely eradicated from the earth, also causes monkeypox. Both belong to the family Poxviridae’s Orthopoxvirus genus. Monkeypox was first identified when outbreaks of the disease-causing smallpox were detected in monkeys kept for study. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it was originally discovered in 1970, it is now endemic in Central and West Africa.
In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 4,594 suspected cases of monkeypox, with 171 deaths (case fatality rate of 3.7 percent). They are referred to as suspects because the PCR testing required for confirmation is difficult to obtain in endemic locations.