Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity.
The infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Cause– Monkeypox virus.
While the natural reservoir of monkeypox remains unknown, African rodents and monkeys are suspected of transmission and infection.
Occurrence- According to the WHO, cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus.
According to the WHO, two distinct clades are identified
the West African clade
the Congo Basin clade (the Central African clade
Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox. But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chickenpox infection.
In the early stage of the disease, Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged.
The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
Onset stage– Within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
Skin eruption stage– It can last between 2 and 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden, fill up with clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
Primary infection is through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected animal. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is also a risk factor.
Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person, or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials.
Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital monkeypox).
It spreads rapidly and can causeone out of ten deaths if infected.
The proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases and has been higher among young children.
Treatment and Vaccine:
There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox infection, But the European Union has recommended a Small PoxVaccine, Imvanex to treat monkeypox after the WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency.
How does Monkeypox different from smallpox?
The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and the vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
Also, the symptoms of both diseases vary.
While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries in Central and West Africa and has on occasion shown up elsewhere.
What can be done?
There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus.
Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus.
Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick animal.
Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans.
Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.