Monkeypox case in UK: Is it fatal? How to prevent?
London, May 08: United Kingdom has confirmed an individual has been diagnosed with rare monkeypox, which is a virus passed from infected animals such as rodents to humans, in someone with a recent travel history to Nigeria where they are believed to have caught it.
It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name 'monkeypox.' The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
How does Monkeypox spread?
It can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.
According to CDC, there are number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox virus:
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus.
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. For purposes of controlling a monkeypox outbreak in the United States, smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used.
Can Monkeypox turn fatal?
Monkeypox can be fatal. The case fatality ratio of monkeypox has varied between 0 and 11 % in the general population, and has been higher among young children. In addition, persons younger than 40 or 50 years of age (depending on the country) may be more susceptible to monkeypox as a result of the termination of routine smallpox vaccination worldwide after the eradication of smallpox.