What is Monkeypox? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and How do you protect yourself from Monkeypox

It is being investigated the symptoms and treatment of monkeypox disease, which affected the whole world after the Covid-19 pandemic. So, what is monkeypox virus, what are the symptoms? Here are the symptoms of monkeypox virus, ways to prevent of monkeypox and treatment for monkeypox…


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Monkeypox: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Monkeypox Virus?

Monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in monkey colonies held for research, hence the name 'monkeypox'. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in people in other Central and West African countries.


What is Monkeypox Disease?

Monkey pox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. The genus Orthopoxvirus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.


Monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in monkey colonies held for research, hence the name 'monkeypox'. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ) during a period of intense effort to eradicate smallpox. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in humans in several other central and western African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone. Most infections are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Human cases of monkeypox have occurred outside of Africa in connection with international travel or imported animals, including cases in the United States, Israel, Singapore and the United Kingdom.


The natural reservoir of the monkey flower is unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) can harbor the virus and infect humans.


What are the symptoms of Monkeypox Disease?

In humans, monkeypox symptoms are similar to, but milder than, smallpox symptoms. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes swelling of the lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5−21 days.


Monkeypox begins like this:


  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches and backache

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Chills

  • Exhaustion

  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.


1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the onset of a high fever, the patient develops a rash that usually starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.


The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Monkeypox has killed 1 in 10 people infected in Africa.


How is Monkeypox Disease transmitted?

Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, person, or material contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through injured skin, respiratory tract or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth). Animal-to-human transmission can occur by biting or scratching, direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material such as contaminated bedding. Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets.


Respiratory droplets usually cannot move more than a few centimeters, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required. Other methods of human-to-human transmission include direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material such as contaminated clothing and linens.


The reservoir host (main disease carrier) of monkeypox is still unknown, but African rodents are suspected to play a role in transmission. The virus that causes monkeypox has only been isolated twice in nature from an animal. In the first example (1985), the virus was obtained from an apparently sick African rodent (string squirrel) in the Equatorial Region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the second (2012) the virus was recovered from a dead baby mangabey found in Tai National Park in Ivory Coast.


How do you protect yourself from Monkeypox Disease? Ways to Prevent Monkeypox Disease

There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus:


  • Avoid contact with animals that may harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).

  • Avoid contact with any material, such as bedding, that has come into contact with a sick animal.

  • Isolate infected patients from others who may be at risk of infection.

  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or people. For example, use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands.

  • Use personal protective equipment when caring for patients.


What is the treatment for Monkeypox Disease?

Many people infected with the monkeypox virus have a mild, self-limiting course of the disease in the absence of specific treatment. However, disease progression for monkeypox is dependent on many factors, such as previous vaccination status, initial health status, concomitant diseases, and comorbidities, among others. Groups of patients who may require additional special treatments are:


  • Persons with severe disease (for example, hemorrhagic disease, confluent lesions, sepsis, encephalitis, or other conditions requiring hospitalization)

  • Persons with immunodeficiency (eg, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome infection, leukemia, lymphoma, generalized malignancy, solid organ transplantation, treatment with alkylating agents, antimetabolites, radiation, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, high dose corticosteroids, recipient hematopoietic stem cell transplant, <24 months or ≥24 months after transplantation, but with graft-versus-host disease or disease relapse or autoimmune disease with immunodeficiency as a clinical component)

  • Pediatric populations, especially patients younger than 8 years

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women

  • Persons with one or more complications (e.g. secondary bacterial skin infection; gastroenteritis with severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration; bronchopneumonia; concomitant illness or other comorbidities)

  • Persons with abnormal infections of monkeypox virus (eg, genitals or anus) involving accidental implantation of the monkeypox virus infection in the eyes, mouth, or other anatomical areas where it may pose a special hazard.


Current Medical Measures for the treatment of Monkeypox Disease

Currently, there is no specific approved treatment for monkeypox virus infections. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may be beneficial.


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