MonkeyPox – Facts, Transmission, Diagnosis & Treatment

Viruses are tiny germs. Usually made of genetic material inside of a protein coating. They cause infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu and warts, HIV/AIDS, smallpox, Ebola and monkeypox.

Viruses invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. Thus, leading to cell death, damage, or change and make you sick. Monkeypox, like every other viral infection is not an exception.

So, stay glued with us as we’ll show you basic Facts, Transmission, Diagnosis and Treatment of Monkeyox.

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What’s Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by monkeypox virus, a virus first identified with monkeys. The monkeypox virus is a rare zoonotic viral disease,transmitted to humans from animals.

The Monkeypox has been classified as a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.

Human monkeypox can be difficult to distinguish clinically from smallpox(to which it is closely related) and chickenpox (to which it is not).

It shows symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe.

Smallpox was eradicated in 1980.However, monkeypox still comes up sporadically in some parts of Africa, such as seen in some regions of Nigeria a few weeks ago.

The virus was first identified in the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958 during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys.

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Natural Host of Monkeypox Virus

Although, monkeypox disease was first traced to monkeys, but in its natural state it seems to infect rodents more often than primates.

Monkeypox is is more resident in rodents, pets, and primates. They easily get transmitted to humans through contact with the animal’s blood or through a bite.

In Africa, monkeypox infection has been found in many animal species: rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian rats, striped mice, dormice and primates.

Scientist are still not sure about the natural history of the virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir of the monkeypox virus and how it is maintained in nature.

In the USA, the virus is thought to have been transmitted from African animals to a number of susceptible non-African species (like prairie dogs) with which they were co-housed.

Monkeypox Disease

Cases of Monkeypox Outbreaks

The disease originates from Central and West Africa. The first report of human monkeypox was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Old Zaire) with a 9 year old boy.

Since then, the majority of monkeypox incidents have been in rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin and western Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is considered to be endemic.

In 1996-97, a major outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The first report of the monkeypox outside of Africa was in the Midwest of the United States of America in the spring of 2003.The outbreak in the US was traced to a pet store where imported Gambian pouched rats were sold.

In 2005, another monkey pox outbreak occurred in Unity, Sudan and sporadic cases have been reported from other parts of Africa.

In 2009, an outreach campaign among refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Republic of Congo identified and confirmed two cases of monkey pox.

Between August and October 2016, a monkey pox outbreak in the Central African Republic was contained with 26 cases and two deaths.

In 2017, a new incidence of monkey pox has been reportedly spread around South-east and South-south Nigeria. Reports has it that 31 suspected cases have recorded across seven states including Rivers, AkwaIbom, Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River.


Transmission of Monkeypox

How Is Monkeypox Transmitted?

  • The early cases of monkeypox transmission resulted from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals.
  • In Africa,reports of human infections have been contacted through the handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats and squirrels, with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus.
  • The virus can also be contacted by eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals.
  • It is also possible to get infected through human contact, resulting 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 occurs primarily via droplet respiratory particles usually requiring prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts household members of active cases at higher risk of infection.
  • Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital monkeypox). There is no evidence, to date, that person-to-person transmission alone can sustain monkeypox infections in the human population.
  • In recent animal studies of the prairie dog-human monkeypox model, two distinct clades of the virus were identified – the Congo Basin and the West African clades – with the former found to be more virulent.

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Signs and Symptoms of Monkey pox Disease

In its earlier days (0-5 days) the monkey pox disease reveals itself by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy);

A few days after various stages of rash starts to appear on the human skin, often beginning on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body. The rash starts from maculopapules (lesions with a flat bases) to vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days. In most cases the face, the palms and the soles of the feet are mostly affected. They also affect the oral mucous membranes genitalia, and conjunctivae (eyelid), as well as the cornea (eyeball).

Depending on the contact severity, the number of the lesions varies from a few to several thousand.

The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

Three weeks might be necessary before the complete disappearance of the crusts.

Some patients develop severe lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) before the appearance of the rash, which is a distinctive feature of monkeypox compared to other similar diseases.

Monkey pox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days.

Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and severity of complications.

People living in or near the forested areas may have indirect or low-level exposure to infected animals, possibly leading to subclinical (asymptomatic) infection.

The case fatality has varied widely between epidemics but has been less than 10% in documented events, mostly among young children. In general, younger age-groups appear to be more susceptible to monkeypox.


Diagnosis of Monkeypox Disease

The differential diagnoses that must be considered include other rash illnesses, such as, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies.

Lymphadenopathy during the prodromal stage of illness can be a clinical feature to distinguish it from smallpox.

Monkey pox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by a number of different tests:

  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • antigen detection tests
  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay
  • virus isolation by cell culture


Treatment and Vaccine of Monkeypox Disease

There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.

Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication.

Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.


Prevention of Monkey pox Disease

How do you prevent getting infected with monkeypox?

  • Close physical touch with monkeypox infected persons should be avoided.
  • Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.
  • All animal products (blood, meat) should be properly cooked before eating.
  • In the absence of specific treatment or vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus.
  • Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn while handling illpeople, animals or their infected tissues.
  • Rapid identification of new cases is critical to contain new outbreaks.
  • Health-care workers caring for persons with suspected or confirmed monkey pox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions.
  • Healthcare workers and those treating or exposed to patients with monkeypox or their samples should consider being immunized against smallpox via their national health authorities.
  • Samples taken from people and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories.
  • Potentially infected animals should be isolated from other animals and placed into immediate quarantine.
  • Any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkey pox symptoms for 30 days.

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