A case of monkeypox, a rare viral infection, has been confirmed by UK health officials. It was discovered in a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria, where they are thought to have contracted it. The patient is being treated in a London-based specialized isolation unit. So basically, what is monkeypox, and why is it dangerous? In this post, we will tell you the fast facts about monkeypox virus.
1. What is monkeypox virus?
The monkeypox virus belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus, which also includes the variola virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox is a zoonosis, which means it is spread from infected animals to people. Cases have been reported near tropical rainforests populated by virus-carrying animals, according to the WHO.
2. Monkeypox history
According to the US center for disease control and prevention CDC, the infection was first discovered in 1958. Two outbreaks of a box-like disease were recorded in colonies of monkeys that were kept for research which led to the name monkey box. Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries. Cases of monkeypox outside of Africa have usually occurred due to international travel or imported animals. Monkeypox cases have been reported in Israel, the USA, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
3. How does monkeypox virus spread?
Squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dermis, and certain monkey species have been found to be infected with this virus. The virus’s human-to-human transmission is, however, limited. Contact with bodily fluids, skin lesions, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose, or mouth, or virus-infected things such as bedding and clothing can all cause it.
The first known human infection was in 1970 in a nine-year-old boy in Africa where the disease is now endemic. However, a Massachusetts resident tested positive for monkeypox making it the first case detected in the US this year. There are also confirmed cases in Portugal, Spain, and England. Health experts say these recent cases are surprising because it’s the first time that monkeypox appears to be spreading among people who didn’t travel to Africa
4. Symptoms of monkeypox
Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox although they are less severe. According to the CDC, initially, the virus may cause fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days as well. Usually, within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off. According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11 % in documented cases and has been higher among young children. There is no safe proven treatment for monkeypox yet. The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms.
5. Treatment for monkeypox
In September 2019, the US food and drug administration approved Genios; a vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox. Adults; 18 years of age and older who are determined to be at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox infection are eligible for that vaccine including the elderly people with certain medical conditions and those who are or were recently pregnant.
The bottom line
Monkeypox virus is causing concern among global health experts. The illness is rarely seen outside of the continent of Africa but the world health organization is reporting more than 90 cases in 12 countries around the world so far. I hope the authorities will try their best to overcome this disease as soon as possible.
Well, these are some fast facts about the monkeypox virus. For more global facts, visit our website.