How to protect yourself from Monkeypox – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention?

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox viral infection virus, which belongs to the same viral family as the variola virus caused by smallpox. The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, although they are milder, and monkeypox is seldom deadly. Although, Chickenpox is not related to monkeypox.

Monkeypox was found in 1958 after two outbreaks of a pox-like illness in study colonies of monkeys. The very first human case of Monkeypox was reported in 1970. Before the 2022 outbreak, Monkeypox was documented in various Central and Western African nations. Previously, practically all Monkeypox cases in individuals outside of Africa were connected to foreign travel to places where the illness was widespread or through imported animals. These incidents occurred across numerous continents.

Where else is Monkeypox found?

Monkeypox was predominantly observed throughout Africa for decades. It is, nevertheless, present in other nations, including the United States. The first Monkeypox epidemic outside of Africa occurred in the United States in 2003.

Viruses formerly restricted to certain regions might more readily spread worldwide as international travel becomes more widespread.

According to WHO, between 1 January and 15 June 2022, 2103 laboratory-confirmed cases, one probable case, and one fatality were reported from 42 countries across five WHO Regions. Since May 2022, the vast majority of cases (98 per cent) have been recorded.

Monkeypox confirmed cases in 2022

What are the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox?

It might take days or even weeks after exposure before you experience symptoms. Early indications of monkeypox include symptoms similar to the flu-like:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen Lymph nodes

A rash frequently appears a few days later. Initial signs of the rash are uncomfortable, flat, and red pimples. These lumps grow into pus-oozing blisters. It may take two to four weeks for the blisters to finally dry up and peel off. Additionally, oral, vaginal, or anus ulcers might occur.

How does the virus spread?

When you come into touch with an animal or a person who is infected with the virus, you might develop monkeypox. Animals can transmit diseases to people by biting or scratching people or by coming into direct touch with their blood, body fluids, or lesions from an affected animal (sores).

Although less frequent, monkeypox can transmit from person to person. When you touch the sores, scabs, respiratory droplets, or oral secretions of an infected individual, person-to-person spread (also known as transmission) happens. This typically occurs through close, personal circumstances like hugging, kissing, or intercourse. Although a study is underway, it is unclear if the virus is spread by semen or vaginal secretions.

Additionally, you can get monkeypox by touching recently contaminated items like bedding, clothes, and other linens used by an animal or person with the disease.

How do you prevent the monkeypox virus?

A smallpox immunization can prevent monkeypox, but its use is now limited to clinical investigations. Preventive measures include limiting person-to-person transmission and minimizing human contact with sick animals. The most effective method for halting the transmission of the monkeypox virus is to:

  • Keep your distance from diseased animals (especially sick or dead animals).
  • Steer clear of touching contaminated bedding and other items.
  • Cook any items containing animal flesh or by-products completely.
  • Frequently wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
  • Keep your distance from anyone who may be carrying the virus.
  • Engage in safe sexual behaviour, including dental dams and condoms.
  • Wear a mask in crowed that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Sanitize and disinfect areas that are regularly touched.
  • During caring for patients who are infected with the virus, wear personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Keeping eye viruses spread in your neighbourhood is another method to protect yourself and your loved ones safe. You may accomplish this by looking at state and local health department notifications, which record instances of monkeypox by state.

Monkeypox vs smallpox

Monkeypox and smallpox are both caused by unique but related viruses since they are both members of the orthopoxvirus family. By 1980, smallpox was eliminated (no longer a disease that circulates) due to good vaccinations. Compared to monkeypox, smallpox was more infectious and spread more quickly. The signs and symptoms of monkeypox are comparable to smallpox but are less severe.

How long does monkeypox last?

Typically, monkeypox takes two to four weeks to fully manifest. If you are exposed to monkeypox, your caregiver will monitor you until the rash disappears.

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