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All About Monkeypox Virus

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All About Monkeypox Virus

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus. It manifests itself with fever, swollen lymph nodes, and widespread rash. It causes redness and lesions on the face and hands and feet.

What is Monkey Pox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus. It manifests itself with fever, swollen lymph nodes, and widespread rash. It causes redness and lesions on the face and hands and feet.

Most cases of monkeypox occur in Central and West Africa. Although monkeypox is rare in the United States, there have been a few confirmed cases in 2021.

Monkeypox is also a zoonotic disease. In other words, it can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to animals. It can also be passed from person to person.

What are the causes of monkeypox?

Monkeypox is caused by monkeypox virus. The virus belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus, to which the virus that causes smallpox also belongs.

Scientists first described this disease in 1958. Two epidemics broke out among monkeys used for research. Therefore, this disease was called monkeypox.

The first case of monkeypox in humans was seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to the symptoms of smallpox. However, the symptoms of monkeypox are usually milder.

After contracting monkeypox virus, it can take approximately 5 to 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. In most cases this period is 7 to 14 days.

Early symptoms include:

  • Fever is often the first symptom
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Back pain
  • Tiredness
  • Chills and shivering
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes, i.e. lymphadenopathy
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After fever appears, rashes begin 1 to 3 days later. Rashes usually appear in the following areas:

  • Percentage with the most common region
  • in palms
  • on the soles of the feet
  • in mouth
  • in the genital area
  • In the eyes, including the conjunctiva and cornea

Rashes usually look like this:

  • Macular or flat pale lesions
  • Blister or slightly raised lesions
  • Vesicles or fluid-filled bumps
  • Boil-like bumps filled with yellow fluid
  • scabs
  • After the lesions dry and crust over, they fall off.

Monkeypox symptoms usually last 2 to 4 weeks and disappear without the need for treatment.

Does monkeypox cause other diseases?

Possible complications of monkeypox include:

  • Bronchopneumonia (pneumonia caused by viruses)
  • Sepsis, that is, blood poisoning
  • Inflammation of brain tissue, also known as encephalitis
  • Infection in the cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eye
  • Secondary infections

Corneal infection can cause vision loss.

Additionally, in rare cases, lesions may occur together and cause patchy shedding of the skin.

Where is monkeypox seen?

Monkeypox is active primarily in tropical, rural parts of Central and West Africa. Since 1970, it has been seen in the following countries:

  • Benin
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Ivory Coast
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Gabon
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Sudan

Most infections have occurred in rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If you live in or travel to any of these countries, be sure to take precautions for your safety. Avoid interaction with animals that may be infected with monkeypox. Likewise, avoid interacting with people who may have been exposed to the virus.

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is spread through direct contact with infected animals or people, as follows:

  • through blood
  • with body fluids
  • Through skin and mucosal lesions
  • From person to person, via droplets
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Viruses can enter the body through breathing, mucous membranes or cracked skin. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that human-to-human spread is very low. The disease is usually transmitted through prolonged face-to-face contact and droplets without maintaining distance. The virus can be transmitted by contacting people for 3 hours or longer without maintaining a distance of 1.5-2 meters.

Transmission can also occur through:

  • Bites or scratches from infected animals
  • Eating meat from infected animals
  • Contact with items contaminated with the virus, such as bed linens

The main carrier of the disease is unknown. African rodents are thought to have a role.

Is monkeypox lethal?

According to the CDC, 1 in 10 cases of monkeypox results in death. Those in the risk group are more likely to have a severe disease. We can list the risk groups as follows:

  • being a child-young person
  • Being exposed to the virus for a long time
  • Having a low immune system and chronic disease

US monkeypox cases in 2021

There are two confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States for 2021. Both are associated with international travel.

One case was detected in July 2021. The individual returned to the United States after traveling to Nigeria. They traveled on 2 separate flights and had contact with 200 people. The CDC asked 200 people to monitor their symptoms, but no new cases were reported.

Another case was seen in November 2021. The individual traveled to Nigeria and returned to the United States. There have been no cases of monkeypox since then.

How is monkeypox treated?

There is currently no cure for monkeypox. However, monkeypox is self-limiting, which means it can get better without treatment.

Some medications can be used to control the epidemic and prevent the spread of the disease. Some of these are those:

  • chickenpox vaccine
  • Vaccinia immune globulin (VIG)
  • antiviral drugs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the chickenpox vaccine is approximately 85 percent effective in preventing the development of monkeypox. If you were vaccinated against chickenpox as a child and contract monkey virus, symptoms may be mild.

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In 2019, a vaccine was approved to prevent both chickenpox and monkeypox. However, it is not yet widely used.

Who should be screened for monkeypox and how is it diagnosed?

It is important to get screened for monkeypox if:

  • If you live with people who have had monkeypox
  • If you work with people who have monkeypox
  • If you have traveled to a country where monkeypox is more common
  • If you have interacted with imported animals
  • If you have been bitten or scratched by infected animals
  • If you have eaten undercooked meat or other products of infected animals
  • If you have visited or live near tropical rainforests

How is it diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose monkeypox using several methods:

  • medical history

This includes your travel history, which will help your doctor determine how at risk of disease you are.

  • laboratory tests

This involves testing fluids from lesions or dry scabs. These samples are tested for the virus with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

  • Biopsy

In a biopsy, a piece of skin tissue is removed and tested for the virus.

Blood tests are generally not recommended. Because monkeypox virus remains in the blood for a short time. Therefore, it is not an accurate test for diagnosing monkeypox.

Useful information

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease. It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to animals. It can also be passed from person to person.

The first symptoms appear as fever, muscle aches and swelling of the lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, it causes rashes on the face and hands and feet. Rashes consist of lesions that turn into fluid-filled blisters that later dry and slough off. The rash typically begins on the face and then progresses downward, usually to the arms and legs. However, it can also occur in other parts of the body.

Monkeypox occurs primarily in the tropical regions of central and western Africa. If you have recently traveled to these areas, it is recommended that you be screened for monkeypox.

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