As a disease of global public health, monkeypox is important and it not only affects countries in the west and control Africa, but the rest of the world.
Monkey pox is a disease caused by infection. It was first discovered in 1958 when outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys colonies. The first monkeypox case concerning human was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since then monkeypox has been reported in People in several countries.
How dangerous is monkeypox ?
This virus belongs to pox viruses family which includes smallpox.
Monkeypox versus smallpox
In human the monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Monkey pox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not and this is the main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox.
Signs and symptoms of monkeypox
The symptoms of monkeypox in humans are similar but milder than smallpox symptoms. Monkeypox has symptoms such as fever, headache, exhaustion, chills and muscle pains. A face rash will also appear after a few days and then spreading to other body parts including hands palms and soles. The rash begins as flat, red bumps that turn into blisters then.
How long does it take for symptoms of the disease to show after infection ?
The symptoms of the disease last for 2-4 weeks. The incubation period for the virus is usually from 6 to 13 days, but can range from 5-21 days.
How does the disease progress ?
The disease has four different phases. The first phase is called the invasion period (lasting between 0-5 days) and is usually characterized by fever, headache, and swelling of lymph node, back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and intense asthenia (lack of energy).
Compared to other pox diseases, lymphadenopathy is a distinctive feature of monkeypox. The second phase for the disease is the skin eruption stage that usually begins within 1-3 days of appearance of fever and lasts for 2-4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful. In 95%of cases, the rash affects the face and in 75% of cases, palms of the hands and soles are affected. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and nature of complications. This rash occurrence is the third stage of the disease. In the last stage of monkeypox, these rashes often transform into raised bumps.
The illness is considered to transmit through direct contact with a case, droplets or contaminated surfaces or objects. The virus can spread from animals to people through the bite of an infected animal or through the use of products made from infected animals. The virus can also spread through materials touching body fluids, such as clothing. It can also spread during close contact including sex, or other parts with monkeypox sores. It doesn’t spread easily between people. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, muscous membranes or the respiratory tract.
Clinical diagnosis of monkeypox sounds difficult. The disease is often confused with other infections such as chickenpox. To diagnose monkeypox definitely health professionals assessment and specific testing in a specialist laboratory are required. If the skin lesions are present or symptoms are seen during an outbreak, monkeypox can be cautiously diagnosed. Histopathology and virus isolation can confirm the diagnosis. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test can also detect monkeypox DNA in tissues. Doctors diagnose monkeypox using several methods:
Medical history: It includes your travel history that helps your doctor at determining your risk.
Lab tests: It includes testing the fluid from dry scabs or lesions.
Biopsy: It includes removing a part of skin tissue and examining it for the virus.
Blood tests are not recommended since the virus doesn’t stay in the blood for a long time.
Prevention and control
You can take some measures prevent infection with moknkeypox virus. First avoid contacting with sick or dead animals in areas where the illness occurs. Next, separate infected patients from others who are possible to be at risk for infection. Then, practice good hand hygiene after contacting with infected animals or humans. Finally, while caring patients, use personal protective equipments. The main prevention strategy for monkeypox is to reduce exposure to the virus. Some countries have regulations for restricting importation of rodents and
non-human primates. Captive animals that are infected with monkeypox should be separated from other animals and placed into immediate quarantine.
Usually, there is no approved specific treatment for monkeypox virus infections. The disease is usually mild and most of the infected cases will improve within a few weeks. If monkeypox outbreaks in multiple people, the center for Disease Control(CDC)has options to use smallpox vaccine and other treatments to control the disease spread. Cidofovir, and tecovirimat are also used to control outbreaks of monkeypox. The infected person should remain in isolation and keep lesions covered as reasonably as possible until all lesions crusts have naturally fallen off and a new skin layer is formed.
For individuals exposed to the virus, both temperature and symptoms should be monitored twice per day for 21 days because it is the accepted limit of incubation period of monkeypox.
Several observational studies showed that vaccination against smallpox to be about 85% effective in preventing mokeypox. Therefore, prior smallpox vaccination may end in milder stress. The scar on the upper arm is a good evidence of the prior vaccination against smallpox. In 2019, a newer vaccine based on a modified attenuated vaccine virus was appeared for the prevention of monkeypox.