what-is-monkeypox

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is one rare disease that is caused by an infection with the monkeypox virus. It comes from the same family of viruses which has the variola virus which is the cause of smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are quite similar to smallpox symptoms. However, these are milder. As monkeypox is rarely fatal and it is not related to chickenpox.

It was discovered back in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of diseases in the colonies of monkeys and kept for research. Despite the name monkeypox, the source of the disease remains unknown. However, as per the experts, African rodents and non-human primates just like monkeys might stem the virus and infect people.

What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox

There are quite a number of symptoms of monkeypox. The symptoms could include rashes on body parts hands, feet, chest face, and mouth.

  • A rash goes through several stages also including scabs and before healing
  • Rashes also look like pimples or may be blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Other symptoms include

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Respiratory systems (e.g sore throat, cough, or nasal congestion)

It is important to take note that the patients may or may not experience all of these symptoms.

A few other symptoms could also be

Flu-like symptoms before the rash

It could be vice versa with rashes first and followed by other symptoms

Sometimes these are only rashes

How long does Monkeypox last

These symptoms could last for more than three weeks of exposure to the virus. However, if someone has flu-like symptoms they may develop a rash 1-4 days later or so. It can spread once the symptoms are open and it usually develops rashes. It can spread over time until rashes are healed and scabs are fallen off and a new layer of skin is formed. The illness lasts for 2-4 weeks.

How is Monkeypox Spread

It can further spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, and body fluids from a person.

  • Coming in contact with the objects such as infected objects, fabrics including clothing, bedding, and towels and it also adds the surfaces that have been used by some who have monkeypox.
  • Coming in contact with the respiratory secretions

Through intimate contact

Monkeypox is contagious and it may spread from one person to another through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, and body fluids. Moreover, another medium of its spread could be respiratory secretion during prolonged and face-to-face contact. It can also spread during intimate physical contact, such as kissing hugs or so.

Pregnancy

A pregnant woman can be the reason for spreading this virus to the fetus through the placenta.

Infected animals

It is also very much likely to get an infection of monkeypox from the infected animals. They can transmit the virus either by being scratched or bitten by the animals and preparing meat or using products from the infected animals.

This time span of transmission from the infected person could start from the time patient starts having symptoms until the rashes have healed and there is new skin.

There is still research going on if a virus can be spread and transferred in case the person is asymptomatic and has no symptoms.

  • And how often it happens that monkeypox spreads through the respiratory secretions
  • Whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, urine, or feces. 

Where is Monkeypox Found

The first ever case of monkeypox was found in 1958. It was found among the laboratory monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark. As for humans, the first-ever case was documented in 1970, in six unvaccinated children during the efforts of removing smallpox. It was the first 9-month-old boy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rest of the people including three who were playmates were in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Scientists made progress by realizing that it is less transmissible compared to smallpox. Later from 1981 to 1986, more than 300 cases of human monkeypox were reported in DRC. It was mainly due to contact with animals. It was in 1996 that this disease reemerged in the DRC with 88% of the cases resulting from human-to-human transmission.

How many cases of Monkeypox in US

The United States is one of the countries which has been part of the outbreak of monkeypox in the United States. It is one of the four countries outside the west African clade of this virus. The first case of this outbreak was documented in Boston on May 19, 2022. As of August, monkeypox has spread to every state except Wyoming and Washington D.C, and Puerto Rico.

On August 4, 2022, the US centers for disease control and prevention declared monkeypox a public health emergency in the United States. Total cases of monkeypox are as many as 14,115.

How to treat Monkeypox

There are no particular treatments for monkeypox. The viruses of chickenpox and monkeypox are quite similar genetically which implies that all the drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

However, the symptoms can dissolve on their own without any treatment. Nonetheless, if needed the medication for pain and fever can be taken. It can help to relieve the symptoms.

Individuals with monkeypox should ensure to stay hydrated, eat well, and also have sound sleep. People who are self-isolating themselves can take measures to take care of their mental health by doing things that make them happy and relaxed.

It is also important that people avoid scratching their skin and the places of rashes to avoid further spread and to treat it soon. People should keep on washing their hands more frequently after they touch their rashes and pimples. They can keep their rashes clean by using sterilized water or antiseptic. Moreover, saltwater rinses can also be used for this purpose. It can be used for the lesions in the mouth, and baths with baking soda and Epsom salts.

Research over the years has led to the invention of Antivirals such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) could be used for the recommended people who are more likely to get ill due to infection these are the patients who have weak immune systems.

Where did Monkeypox come from

This virus initially came from animals and it was found during lab testing in Copenhagen, Denmark back in 1958. It has always been common in Central and West Africa. However, in May 2022, health officials started reporting the outbreak of the virus in many other regions too outside Africa. It is interesting that despite coming from Denmark it is endemic in Benin, Cameroon, the central African republic, the democratic republic of congo, Gaban, Ghana, and a lot more.

How dangerous is Monkeypox

Monkeypox generally is not dangerous. Most cases of monkeypox getaway on their own within a few weeks. However, it could lead to medical complications in some people depending on their medical history and nervous system. It can even lead to death with underlying immune deficiencies. Newborn kids, however, are more at risk of serious symptoms and can even die due to weak immune systems.

More complications from monkeypox include secondary skin infections, eye problems, and pneumonia in some cases. In past between 1% to 10% of people have died in the United States. However, it is important to note that the death rate could differ and may depend on a number of factors such as good healthcare, and access to good medical facilities. Also, the surveillance of monkeypox has been restricted in the past. Moreover, the new outbreak in different countries has also not seen much of deaths to date.

Which states have Monkeypox

New York has been witnessing the most cases of monkeypox in the recent outbreak. These 2744 as per the latest calculations. The next one is California and which has 2663 cases. The next states with the maximum numbers are Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Almost all of the states are being affected by monkeypox except Wyoming, Washington DC, and Puerto.

The table shows the ten most affected states with the maximum number of monkeypox cases. 

Sr. NoStateCases
1.New York2744
2.California2663
3.Florida1372
4.Texas1079
5.Georgia1066
6.Illinois888
7.New Jersey377
8.Pennsylvania371
9.District of Columbia351
10.Maryland349

How to protect yourself from Monkeypox

It is important that people are well aware of the facts and take the required steps to prevent monkeypox.

They can

  • Avoid close and skin-to-skin contact with people who have monkeypox rashes
  • Do not touch or scab the rashes of people who have monkeypox or if it looks like that
  • Do not have any intimate sessions with someone who could likely carry the symptoms of monkeypox.
  • Stay away from the materials and objects that a person with monkeypox has used
  • Better not to share eating utensils, cups, and others with the person who has monkeypox
  • Do not touch or come in contact with the bedding, towels, and clothing of a person who could be a carrier of monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands more often

Washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer is extremely important to protect yourself. Also, this should be done particularly before having food and using the bathroom.

Get Vaccinated

CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) government is recommending since always for vaccination for people who have ever been exposed to monkeypox or are likely to have the virus.

The people who could have a risk of getting monkeypox could include

  • People who have been scanned as the carrier by coming in contact with someone who had monkeypox
  • People who have their partners been diagnosed with the disease in the past two weeks
  • People who have come across people from an area that has monkeypox.

The people who could have their jobs with orthopoxviruses such as

  • Laboratory workers conducting tests for the orthopoxviruses
  • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or health aminals with particular viruses
  • Designated health care lab or public health workers

Vaccine protection

The preferred and relevant vaccine to protect yourself from monkeypox and virus is JYNNEOS. It is a two-dose vaccine. It takes a time period of 14 days of getting the virus to reach immune protection to its maximum usage.

Another vaccine named ACAM2000 could also be used as an alternative to JYNNEOS. It is a single-dose vaccine and it requires four weeks to protect the immune and reach its maximum. However, it is important to note that this vaccine could have more adverse effects compared to JYNNEOS. It should be taken under supervision and is certainly noted for people who have a weak and fragile immune system with several other conditions.

People should also take precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to monkeypox until they have been vaccinated or their vaccination has taken the required time to reach its maximum coverage.

Final words

A recent outbreak of monkeypox has quite made things tough for people. With more than 14,000 cases all over the States, it has become difficult for the government to take things into its hands. Hence, it is really important to educate the audience. WHO in this regard has made sure that people know what monkeypox is, from where it comes, and how it spreads. They are also trying to cover its history from where it came, monkeypox cases in the US, and how the disease can be treated. It further includes its intensity, and instructions to follow to protect yourself.

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