Monkeypox: What should you know about it?
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral infection that causes fever and a painful rash. It was originally discovered in monkeys, and its causative virus has similarities with the one causing smallpox.
Monkeypox was first isolated in Denmark in the late 1950s. Since the discontinuation of smallpox immunization, some cases have happened in Africa and the United States of America, but in general, it remained very uncommon until 2022.
In contrast with the earlier cases in Africa in 1970-1980 and the US in 2003, the ongoing outbreak is associated with person-to-person transmission, as various reports indicated from Europe and North American regions in May 2022.
Current statistics indicate, that thousands of individuals have been infected, and dozens of countries have reported evidence of community transmission.
What should you know about the current virus?
It is transmitted between Animal-to-human and human-to-human. Transmission can occur in the following ways:
Through direct touching an infected person's rash, scabs, or body fluids
Through touching something that has touched an infected person, such as clothing or linens, or sex toys
Through tiny droplets from the lungs of an infected person, although prolonged face-to-face contact may be required for transmission to happen.
Through vertical transmission, the virus can cross the placenta from the mother to her fetus.
The incubation period of monkeypox virus infection is usually from 5 to 13 days, and its signs and symptoms include:
Fever, intense headache, back pain, muscle pain, lymph node swelling, and severe fatigue happen in the first five days of infection.
The skin rash that usually erupts within one to four days of the appearance of fever continues for two to three weeks, and it looks like pimples or blisters. It starts as a few small spots, then more appear.
Several complications of monkeypox have been reported, including secondary infections such as pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and cornea infection leading to loss of vision.
Underlying immune deficiencies may lead to severe disease and worse outcomes.
Few people require hospitalization due to Monkeypox. According to the previous outbreaks, only 26% required hospital admission. Most patients will have mild diseases and can be cared for at home in the community.
Unlike old outbreaks of Monkeypox in Africa in the 1970s, which carried a 10% mortality rate, the current outbreak has not resulted in any deaths.
Patients with monkeypox virus should be isolated in a room or area separate from other family members and pets. When they are around other noninfected individuals, their skin lesions should be covered using long sleeves or long pants to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus. The facemask should be worn ideally by every household member in the presence of the person with monkeypox.
Persons with monkeypox should be considered infectious and be isolated until all lesion scabs have fallen off.
Do you need more information about Monkeypox? Do you feel exposed or have symptoms? Don’t hesitate to contact a doctor using the BYON8 app. Your consultation will be confidential, and only reputable doctors will attend to you.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy
CDC Monkeypox information page: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/
World Health Organization. Multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries: https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON385
Human monkeypox, 1970-79: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2395797/
World Health Organization. Weekly bulletin on outbreaks and other emergencies: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/354782/OEW22-2329052022.pdf