MonkeyPox: Everything You Need to Know About the Viral Outbreak

Another healthcare threat on the horizon: Monkeypox. While the virus may be new for many, it has been around for decades and has been extensively researched. Here is everything you need to know about Monkeypox.

What is Monkeypox?

The monkeypox virus, which is a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, is what causes the viral infection. The virus infected primates and was first discovered in a lab monkey, given the name "monkeypox." It is a relative of the variola virus, which causes smallpox.


How does Monkeypox Spread?

According to the CDC, Monkeypox transmits from close contact. The virus, first appearing in animals, has now spread across humans worldwide. Here are a few ways that initiate the spread of this viral illness:

  • Direct contact with a contagious rash, scab, or body fluids that have been contaminated by the virus.
  • Wearing or sleeping in clothing or bedding that has been in contact with an infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during extended face-to-face interaction or during touching that is intimate or sexual in nature.
  • Through the placenta, the virus can infect the fetus.

Monkeypox Symptoms

Monkeypox is characterized by an abrupt, unusual rash, as well as headache, fever, chills, muscle and body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. The symptoms don't appear right away. Research shows that symptoms may take 3 to 21 days to appear on a Monkeypox virus carrier.

The first few days of catching the virus, you will experience sore throat, flu and fever, which may be considered a normal viral cold; however, it is not until you see the rashes. The rash often starts with the face and slowly spreads across the entire body, including the genitalia. This is the reason why some people misinterpret it with other sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or syphilis.

The rash evolves and progresses through many stages, sometimes resembling chickenpox or syphilis, before eventually developing a scab that will crust over and fall off. 

Those who have come into contact with a person who has Monkeypox or who have gone to a country where the virus has been confirmed are more likely to become infected. Some ways that you can catch the virus are discussed above. When you experience similar symptoms, you must immediately see a doctor to confirm the disease.

How to Treat Monkeypox?

Monkeypox recovers without any treatment. However, you will need to get tested so that you start managing your symptoms and avoiding interactions with other people. There have been very few hospitalizations so far.

Although there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, the virus will take about 2 to 4 weeks to completely heal. 

Monkeypox Vaccination and Other Prevention Tips

A monkeypox vaccine is now available for those who have been exposed to the virus. The vaccine works to either stop the infection from further spreading or to reduce the severity of the illness.

Jynneos, a vaccine with FDA approval, can shield adults over the age of 18 against Monkeypox. The vaccine consists of two doses. If you have been in contact with a person who has contracted Monkeypox, you should get the vaccine within four days of being exposed. Similarly, if the cases of Monkeypox increase in your local area, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself. Wearing a mask and avoiding direct contact with others are advised until the skin lesions are fully recovered. 

Monkeypox Spread around the World

The sudden emergence of Monkeypox and the widespread geographic distribution of cases suggest that the Monkeypox virus might have been under the shadow for a long time. The virus that spread from human to human transmission remained undetected until the outbreak became a global phenomenon.

As of July, the number of confirmed Monkeypox cases reached 20,800, and the World Health Organization labelled the epidemic a global health emergency. The disease, which has been prevalent for a long time has recently experienced a surge in its spread. More than 70 nations where the condition was indigenous have reported the Monkeypox outbreak.

WHO is still keeping a close eye on the situation and is in favor of international cooperation and information sharing with partners and member states. 

The Takeaway

World Health Organization has emphasized that there is no tolerance for complacency and has called on governments to act in unison to halt the spread of the Monkeypox virus. As an individual, you should use prevention measures to avoid contracting this virus such as constant hand washing, wearing a mask, and avoiding direct contact with people who have been exposed.

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