Cases of monkeypox have suddenly become a cause for concern in European countries, including the UK as well as the US, Canada and Australia. Here we take a look at some important information regarding this little-known disease.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare, usually mild infection that is spread by infected wild animals in Africa. According to the CDC, it was first detected in 1958 in monkeys kept for research, hence the name, with the first human case recorded in 1970. According to the NHS website, the condition is related to smallpox and causes a rash that frequently begins on the face.
The virus has two strains: the West African strain and the Central African strain. The West African strain of the virus, which is expected to be milder than the Central African variant, has been found in all cases in the United Kingdom.
What Are Monkeypox Symptoms?
The National Health Service of the United Kingdom reports that the earliest signs of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, and swollen glands. A rash arises one to five days after the initial symptoms, usually on the face before spreading to other regions of the body. According to the NHS, the rash, which begins as raised patches that grow into blisters before falling off, is sometimes confused with chicken pox.
How Does Monkeypox Spread To Humans?
Monkeypox can be contracted through a bite from an infected animal or through contact with its blood, bodily fluids, or fur. It is believed that rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels transmit it. It is also possible to contract the virus by consuming uncooked meat from an infected animal.
Monkeypox is extremely rare to obtain from a human because it does not pass easily between individuals. However, the disease can be transferred by touching clothing, bedding, or towels worn by someone with the rash. Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs, or getting too close to an infected person’s coughs and sneezes, can also spread the disease.
Is Monkeypox Life-Threatening?
According to the World Health Organization, studies in central Africa, where people have limited access to adequate health care, suggest that the disease kills one in every ten afflicted persons. The majority of the patients, however, recover within a few weeks.
What is the treatment for Monkeypox?
The goal of monkeypox treatment is to alleviate symptoms. Most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks if the disease is mild. Patients will likely need to stay in a specialised hospital to prevent infection and treat general symptoms.
How To Prevent Monkeypox?/ Monkeypox Prevention
As per CDC guidelines, you should avoid contact with animals that may be infected with the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs). Avoid coming into contact with any materials that have been in contact with a sick animal, such as bedding. Isolate diseased patients from those who could be contaminated.