What is monkeypox, and what are the symptoms?

What is monkeypox, and what are the symptoms?

Monkeypox, a cousin of smallpox, has made its way back into the United States. A case of monkeypox was discovered at a Massachusetts hospital on Wednesday in a patient who had just travelled to Canada in private transportation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two people travelling from Nigeria to the United States were diagnosed with the disease in 2021.

Monkeypox is primarily found in West and Central Africa, however cases have recently been reported in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world. According to the CDC, these cases are usually linked to international travel or imported animals infected with the pox.

Spain verified seven cases of monkeypox in Madrid and is investigating another 22 cases; Italy confirmed its first case; and Canadian public health officials stated they are investigating 17 suspected monkeypox cases in Montreal on Thursday.

Several cases of monkeypox in the United Kingdom among people with no known travel or contact with others infected with the virus have health officials there and at the CDC concerned, but there is no cause for alarm, according to US Surgeon General Thomas Frieden in an interview on Thursday’s “New Day.”

“At this time, we don’t want people to worry,” Murthy said. “These numbers are still small; we want them to be aware of (the) symptoms, and if they have any concerns to reach out to their doctor.”

What are the early symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the CDC, the incubation period is seven to fourteen days. Fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and muscle weakness are common flu-like symptoms, followed by enlargement in the lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and disease.

“A feature that distinguishes infection with monkeypox from that of smallpox is the development of swollen lymph nodes,” the CDC said.

Then there’s a rash that covers the entire face and body, including the inside of the mouth, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.

The painful, elevated poxes are pearly and fluid-filled, with crimson circles often surrounding them. The sores eventually scab up and disappear within two to three weeks, according to the CDC.

“Treatment is generally supportive as there are no specific drugs available. However, a vaccine is available that can be given to prevent the development of disease, ” According to Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,

How is monkeypox spread?

Experts suggest that close contact with an infected person is essential for the monkeypox virus to spread.

Infection can occur after contact with “broken skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected body fluids or even contact with contaminated linen,” according to Neil Mabbott, personal chair in immunopathology at the University of Edinburgh’s veterinary school.

“When the lesions have healed, the scabs (which might carry infectious virus) can be shed as dust, which could be inhaled,” said Dr. Michael Skinner, a professor of medicine at Imperial College London’s department of infectious disease.

Large respiratory droplets are the primary mode of transmission between humans, and because such droplets normally move only a few feet, “prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” according to the CDC.

“Monkeypox can be a serious infection, with mortality rates from this type of monkeypox virus having been around 1% in other outbreaks. These are often in lower-income settings with limited access to health care,” Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, echoed this sentiment.

However, in the developed world, “it would be very unusual to see anything more than a handful of cases in any outbreak, and we won’t be seeing (Covid)-style levels of transmission,” Head said in a statement.

According to the CDC, common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.

Where did monkeypox first appear?

In 1958, “two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research,” according to the CDC.

Monkeypox’s major disease carrier is unknown, while “African rodents are suspected to play a part in transmission,” according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, 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.”

In 2003, the CDC reported that 47 persons in six states — Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin — were ill after coming into touch with their pet prairie dogs.

“The pets were infected after being housed near imported small mammals from Ghana,” the CDC said. “This was the first time that human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa.”

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