What is monkeypox?Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease and is mostly transmitted to humans from wild animals such as rodents and primates, however, human-to-human transmission is also possible. Monkeypox cases, both suspected and confirmed, continue to increase in several countries. It is a rare disease and similar to other poxviruses that lead to smallpox. This is the first time the virus has been found outside of Africa.
How does it spread?
Monkeypox is spread through direct contact with infected animals through scratches, bites, or direct or indirect contact with their wounds or bodily secretions. However, new cases being reported worldwide result from human-to-human transmission. It is also said that intercourse can also lead to an outbreak.
Signs and symptoms of monkeypox
When a person contracts monkeypox, it does not show symptoms immediately. The incubation period of the virus is said to be between seven and 21 days.
Common symptoms include:
Swollen lymph nodes
Once these symptoms set in, the disease may progress to developing a rash on the face that may also spread to the entire body. They first appear as discolored areas, which later develop into hard raised spots, fluid-filled blisters, pus-filled blisters such as sores, dry patches before falling off.
The overall duration of illness ranges from two to four weeks.
Is monkeypox curable?
Although there is no definite cure for monkeypox, some doctors may also prescribe antiviral drugs to control the illness. Some tested antiviral treatments seem to work with few side effects. Furthermore, the smallpox vaccine is said to be 85% effective in treating the illness. The US is distributing the Genios vaccine, which is a smallpox and monkeypox vaccine (live, non-replicating). The vaccine is given in two doses and distributed 28 days apart.
Just like the precautions we take during a covid infection, experts suggest social distancing, masking, improved ventilation and staying at home when sick are some of the recommended practices to follow.
Whenever such viruses rear their ugly heads, we are reminded that humans and animals are connected in a complex system, with 2/3 of infectious diseases originating in humans being zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans).
- What can you do to protect yourself?
Avoid contact with people with suspected or confirmed monkeypox; Avoid physical contact with suspected or confirmed monkeypox; Avoid crowded events; Follow good hygiene; Wear a mask
- Will masking help prevent monkeypox?
Although the disease is spread through close contact, masking can still provide some protection.
- Where does the lesion first appear?
According to some experts, lesions associated with monkeypox may appear in the respiratory tract before lesions appear in other parts of the body.