What is monkeypox? 5 quick facts you need to know

monkey pox


The main entrance of the Schwabing Hospital. The first patient with monkeypox in Germany is treated in Schwabing Hospital.

on May 18, 2022, Massachusetts Health Authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a single case of monkeypox in a patient who recently traveled to Canada. cases were also reported in the UK and Europe.

Monkeypox is not a new disease. That The first confirmed human case was in 1970, when the virus was isolated from a child suspected of having smallpox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Monkeypox is unlikely to cause another pandemic, however with COVID-19 on their mindFear of another major eruption is understandable. Although rare and usually mild, monkeypox can still cause potentially serious illness. Health officials fear more cases will emerge as a result of increased travel.

I am a researcher who has worked in public health and medical laboratories for more than three decades, particularly in the field of diseases of animal origin. What exactly is happening in the current outbreak and what does history tell us about monkeypox?

1. A cousin of smallpox

monkey pox

GettyThis handout graphic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows symptoms of one of the first known cases of monkeypox virus on a patient’s hand on June 5, 2003.

monkey pox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to a subgroup of the Poxviridae virus family called Orthopoxvirus. This subgroup includes smallpox, Vaccinia and cowpox viruses. during a Animal reservoir for monkeypox virus is unknown, African rodents are suspected to be involved in transmission. The monkeypox virus has only been isolated twice from an animal in nature. Diagnostic tests for monkeypox is currently only available from Laboratory Response Network laboratories in the United States and worldwide.

The name “monkeypox” comes from the first documented cases of the disease in animals in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in research monkeys. However, the virus did not jump from monkeys to humans, nor are monkeys the primary vectors of the disease.

2. Epidemiology

Monkeypox has been found since the first reported human case several other Central and West African countries, with the most infections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Cases outside of Africa have been linked to international travel or imported animals, including to the US and elsewhere.

That first reported cases of monkeypox in the US was from an outbreak in Texas in 2003 related to a shipment of animals from Ghana. There have also been travel-related cases in November and July 2021 in Maryland.

Because monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can do this provide protection against infection by both viruses. However, since smallpox has been officially eradicated, Routine vaccinations against smallpox for the general US population were stopped in 1972. Because of this, monkeypox was introduced increasingly emerge in unvaccinated people.

3. Transmission

The virus can be transmitted B. through contact with an infected person or animal or contaminated surfaces. Typically, the virus enters the body through broken skin, inhalation, or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth. Researchers believe human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through inhalation of large respiratory droplets, and not through direct contact with bodily fluids or indirect contact through clothing. Human-to-human transmission rates for monkeypox were limited.

health officials are concerned that the virus may currently be spreading undetected through community transmission, possibly via a new mechanism or pathway. Where and how infections occur is still being investigated.

4. Signs and Symptoms

After the virus enters the body, it begins replicate and disseminate through the body via the bloodstream. Symptoms usually don’t appear until a week or two after infection.

Monkeypox produces smallpox-like skin lesions, however symptoms are usually milder than those of smallpox. Flu-like symptoms are common initially and range from fever and headache to shortness of breath. One to ten days later, a rash may appear on the extremities, head, or trunk, which eventually turns into pus-filled blisters. Overall, symptoms usually last two to four weeks, while skin lesions usually scab over after 14 to 21 days.

While monkeypox is rare and usually not fatal, a version the disease kills about 10% of those infected. The current circulating form of the virus is considered to be milder, with a mortality rate of less than 1%.

5. Vaccines and Treatments

Treatment of monkeypox focuses primarily on relieving symptoms. According to the CDC, there are no treatments available to cure monkeypox infection.

VideoWhat is monkeypox video? 5 quick facts you need to know2022-05-24T11:07:18-04:00

There is evidence that the smallpox vaccine can help prevent monkeypox infections and reduce the severity of symptoms. A vaccine known as Imvamune or Imvanex is approved in the US for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox.

Vaccination after exposure to the virus can also help reduce the risk of serious illness. The CDC currently recommends smallpox vaccination only in people who have been or are likely to be exposed to monkeypox. immunocompromised people are at high risk.The conversation

By Rodney E RohdeRegent Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science, Texas State University

This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.

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