Updated: Sep 5, 2022
Monkeypox is an infection that belongs to the same family as smallpox. This can be a scary thought, as smallpox was one of the most dangerous diseases in human history. While it's important to be cautious, some panic is unwarranted as even though monkeypox can pass from human to human, it's fairly easy to contain thanks to vaccination and sanitation.
It is believed that the virus can be transmitted from monkeys to humans. Affected people develop skin rashes and experience pains, fevers, and internal problems like diarrhea. Let's break down the facts about this awful disease and find out the reasons why you should never mistake it for ordinary colds.
The Origin of Monkeypox Virus
In the last few days, the OMS and CDC of the USA and Europe have launched an epidemiologic alert because they had detected new cases of monkeypox in several countries like the USA, French, Spain, UK, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy. Due to this situation, it’s important to explain the most information about this illness.
Viruses that cause monkeypox disease and smallpox disease belong to the same family. In comparison to smallpox, monkeypox cases' symptoms are milder, and it is rarely fatal.
Monkeypox was first reported in humans in 1970. Some central and western African countries had reported monkeypox cases before the outbreak in 2022. In the past, monkeypox cases outside of Africa were almost entirely associated with travel to countries where the disease is common or with the importation of animals from those countries. Multiple continents were affected by these cases.
What is the monkeypox virus?
The current U.S. outbreak has more than 11,800 cases of monkeypox. The virus causes similar symptoms to smallpox, like a rash, fever, and headache. Physical contact with infected individuals transmits the disease, which rarely leads to death.
Monkeypox disease is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans by animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. African tropical rainforests sporadically experience monkeypox outbreaks in their central and western regions.
People typically become infected after an interaction with an infected animal. It is possible to spread the virus to others after becoming infected, but close contact is required.
According to the CDC, many species, including rope and tree squirrels, dogs, primates, hedgehogs, Gambian pouched rats, and mice, can harbor monkeypox. The natural host and source of the virus are unknown but likely to be a rodent.
There are two main types of monkeypox virus:
Viruses known as monkeypox can be classified as either West African or Congo Basin. The West African virus is less severe than the Congo Basin virus and is responsible for the latest outbreak.
8 Things You Need To Know About The Monkeypox Virus
Monkeypox is not a new virus, and it does not always cripple its victims. However, it has been declared by the WHO a top priority in fighting the spread of infectious diseases in these times of terrorism. In this session, we will discuss what you need to know about the monkeypox virus.
What Are the Symptoms of Monkeypox Diseases?
Symptoms of Monkeypox Disease in Children and Adolescents
Similar to adults, children and adolescents with monkeypox develop a rash that proceeds from maculopapular lesions to vesicles, pustules, and scabs. Before the 2022 Multinational Monkeypox Outbreak, fever and lymphadenopathy were widespread. Fatigue and headaches are other symptoms.
Oropharyngeal lesions cause difficulty swallowing or coughing. Intraocular lesions, eyelid swelling, or eyelid crusting can develop when a patient touches a lesion near or in their eye.
Children and adolescents with monkeypox-like symptoms should be evaluated, especially if they match epidemiologic criteria. When monkeypox is suspected, clinicians should call their local health department.
Symptoms of Monkeypox Disease in Adults
The first symptoms of monkeypox disease usually appear between five and 21 days after infection.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include:
a high temperature
In most cases, the first symptoms are followed by a rash within one to five days. Most commonly, the rash appears on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. The anus, genitals, and mouth can all be affected.
Chickenpox is sometimes mistaken for a rash. In the beginning, they appear as raised spots, which develop into small blisters filled with fluid. A scab forms after these blisters form, and then they fall off.
It usually takes a few weeks for the symptoms to subside. It is possible to pass monkeypox on to others while you are experiencing symptoms.
Symptoms of Monkeypox Disease in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women with monkeypox virus infection show prodromal symptoms (fever, headache, lymphadenopathy, malaise, sore throat, and cough) and rash.
During pregnancy, a fever may be difficult to distinguish from an intraamniotic infection (chorioamnionitis) until a rash arises. Rash in a pregnant woman with monkeypox risk factors must be separated from pregnancy dermatoses, especially polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (also known as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). Monkeypox lesions might resemble other illnesses.
Patients with rashes first thought to be from more frequent diseases (e.g., varicella zoster or STIs) should be assessed for a monkeypox rash, and diagnostic testing should be undertaken, especially if the person has epidemiologic risk factors for monkeypox virus infection. Co-infections with monkeypox virus and STIs have been recorded, so testing should be broad.
Symptoms of Monkeypox Disease in Pets
According to the CDC, possible symptoms of sickness in pets include lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, bloating, nasal secretions or crust, and fever.
On the other hand, "it's crucial to keep in mind that those are common symptoms of a variety of respiratory disorders or viral infections."
Even the characteristic lesions of monkeypox, which may take the form of a rash that resembles pimples or blisters, "may look like so many different things."
How Is Monkeypox Transmitted?
Recently, monkeypox has appeared in locations where it's rare. Monkeypox is endemic throughout central and west Africa, although it's rare to see it so widely.
The CDC says people get monkeypox from animals, people, or infected things. The virus enters through broken skin, eyes, nose, or mouth. You can also catch monkeypox through an infected animal bite or scrape, or from contaminated bodily fluids or lesions.
Monkeypox has also been spread via fomites, which transport infected particles. Inanimate items like clothes may host a virus and transmit monkeypox, says infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D. Dr. Russo thinks bedsheets are fomites.
Monkeypox may survive on surfaces like sheets for 15 days, according to the CDC. Orthopoxviruses like monkeypox may persist in a house-like environment "for weeks or months," and porous materials like mattresses and garments can host live viruses longer than non-porous (aka plastic, glass, and metal) surfaces.
Dr. Schaffner thinks you're unlikely to pick up fomites on the street or at the grocery store. He says, "This isn't The anus."
Is Monkeypox Sexually Transmitted?
Although sexual contact is the main mechanism of transmission, monkeypox is not an STD. Monkeypox may be spread by any sort of sustained, intimate contact.
Close contact that spreads monkeypox entails more personal contact than casual talk or standing next to someone in an elevator. Transmission needs mucosal fluids or direct, adequate viral contact. Kissing or snuggling can cause this.
Sexual encounters entail skin-to-skin contact and the exchange of body fluids, which can spread diseases. Monkeypox DNA was found in feces, saliva, blood, semen, and urine. But viral DNA doesn't indicate the virus can infect others.
Can Anyone Get Monkeypox?
Yes. Most cases in this epidemic have been among men who have sex with men (MSM) and have been related to big MSM meetings where transmission has occurred, but it does not indicate it solely happens in that demographic.
Dr. Azar thinks it may easily acquire a foothold in other close-knit societies as well.
Can You Only Get Monkeypox Once?
Monkeypox is seldom caught a second time. We don't know if this applies to vaccinations. Direct skin contact with a monkeypox patient can still cause a rash (including blisters).
It's necessary to have blisters evaluated by a doctor or public health service (GGD). Even if vaccinated, this applies. If you have a monkeypox, you must self-isolate and follow isolation regulations. The GGD will commence source and contact tracing.
How Concerned Should People Be?
“Unlike the virus that causes COVID-19, the monkeypox virus is not known to be transmitted by minute aerosol particles,” Deresinski added.
Derezinski advised being cautious, but not scared. Everyone can get monkeypox, but it, takes intimate contact with another person or contaminated materials. Not COVID-19. Most monkeypox patients are diagnosed before the rash appears.
If you or someone you know develops an inexplicable rash with blisters, fever, headache, and enlarged lymph nodes, see a doctor. Stanford Medicine's monkeypox page has further information.
How Is The Diagnosis Made?
A doctor diagnoses based on symptoms, which are validated by a sample, such as a skin lesion swab, throat or anus swab, or saliva sample. PCR tests determine the viral presence (of the swab).
To avoid contamination, samples must be collected in protected conditions (with protective clothes and in a separate room).
What Should I Do If I Have Monkeypox Disease?
To prevent spreading infection, stay at home until all wounds have healed. So, stay homebound. Only vital reasons, including medical appointments and urgent errands, are allowed. Should you leave? Cover skin lesions with a surgical mouth mask (e.g., by wearing long sleeves and trousers).
When leaving the room or interacting with housemates, wear a surgical mask. Don't share clothing, beds, towels, or dining utensils.
Avoid sexual contact until the skin lesions heal (scabs have fallen off). Condoms may not prevent monkeypox.
Avoid pets (especially rodents such as mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs). Notify all close contacts from the previous three weeks. So they may monitor fever and skin signs and report them.
There are still plenty of things that scientists don't know about the virus, and we're continuing to learn more about MONKEYPOX. We hope you found this article helpful. Remember, for more information about MONKEYPOX, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask your doctor or a member of your healthcare team.