What is monkeypox? Is it contagious? How dangerous is this rare zoonotic viral disease found in UK
London, June 16: Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic viral disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. It produces pox-like lesions on the skin and is closely related to smallpox but is not nearly as deadly as smallpox was.
Outbreak in UK
It was reported that at least two cases of monkeypox have been identified in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, according to a statement by the World Health Organisation.
The patient was a resident and worker in Delta State, Nigeria and landed in the UK on 8 May 2021. The infected patient had a rash, which started on the face. The patient stayed in self-isolation for another 10 days before seeking medical help for symptom alleviation. A family member who had been quarantined with the patient also got lesions. Now both the patients are doing well and are on recovery.
It 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.'
When was the first case reported?
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.
How long is the contagious period for monkeypox?
The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
Signs and Symptoms of monkeypox
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
How long does it last?
The illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.
How does it spread?
Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Is it contagious?
Yes, Monkeypox is contagious. Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets.
What is the main host of monkey pox?
The reservoir host (main disease carrier) of monkeypox is still unknown although African rodents are suspected to play a part in transmission.
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection.
But the CDC recommends these
A smallpox vaccination should be administered within two weeks of exposure to monkeypox.
Cidofovir (Vistide), an antiviral drug, is suggested for patients with severe, life-threatening symptoms.
Vaccinia immune globulin may be used, but efficacy of use has not been documented.
How to prevent monkeypox?
- Avoid contact with animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs .
- 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.