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Learn to spot Monkeypox’s symptoms, ways to treat and prevent the illness, and what to do if you suspect that you’ve been exposed.
Although the current outbreak of Monkeypox is the first time people have heard of the illness, The virus is believed to have been affecting humans for hundreds of years and possibly millennia. As a member of the same family as smallpox and chickenpox, the first cases of Monkeypox to be documented were in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in lab monkey colonies used for research. This is why it was given the monkeypox name.
However, this is an error in terminology. The virus is generally transmitted by rodents like squirrels, pouched rats, and dormice, among other animals. Most cases are found in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa, where the virus is highly prevalent. Between the 1980s and 2010, cases reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) increased nearly 14 times over, and by the end of 2020, there were almost 4,600 suspected cases of the Monkeypox from the DRC. There are also over 550 cases supposed reported in Nigeria since 2017. With these numbers and how connected the world is due to air travel, this current spread of the virus isn’t that surprising.
While cases are increasing, the risk of the virus spreading to the general population is not high. If you suspect you’ve contracted the virus or come into contact with someone who has it, remain at peace. Likely, you won’t require any treatment, but you must take precautions to prevent spreading the virus.
How Do I Know If I’ve Got Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that can manifest in two distinct phases. At first, people experience flu-like fatigue and body aches, fever, headaches, chills, and chills when the virus infects their cells. This is, and then they develop enlarged lymph nodes as the immune system prepares to fight off the virus.
The second phase is the development of “pox,”-a painful rash that typically begins on the face and then expands to the hands, legs, arms, feet, and trunk. Some of the patients affected by the most recent outbreak have complained of an epidemic of sexual organs.
Doctors warn against thinking that you’ve got Monkeypox because you’ve noticed an itch. It can also be a sign of conditions like chickenpox and Scabies. Genital eruptions can be an indication of sexually transmitted infections such as herpes. The rash caused by Monkeypox is distinct, with skin eruptions that start as red and flat before beginning to blister and then fill with pus-like white. Then, they dry out to form scabs that eventually heal and disappear. Although the symptoms can be unpleasant, it generally isn’t too severe and can be treated within two to four weeks.
How Does Someone Catch It?
Monkeypox affects those who contact animals infected, usually rodents who are susceptible to carrying the virus. People can contract the virus through a scratch or bite or eat meat not cooked correctly in rare cases.
Despite the recent increase in cases, a person catching the virus and then passing it to others isn’t prevalent. It’s a matter of prolonged close contact to hand it to another. In particular, there are three ways that Monkeypox could be transmitted: direct contact with pus from sores, touching the affected person’s clothes (or maybe sharing towels), and breathing respiratory droplets. The current outbreak is believed that sexual contact has been a source of transmission, most likely via skin-to-skin contact.
The incidence rate for the virus is lower than that of Covid-19 or other common respiratory viruses, and therefore outbreaks usually stop pretty swiftly. One example was in 2003 when the monkeypox virus was discovered in the US following the infection of animals transported across the border from Ghana to Illinois. The virus was then transmitted to prairie dogs offered as pets across several Midwestern states, and 47 people were infected. However, none of them passed the virus on to anyone else, and the epidemic was over soon after it began.
However, this time, scientists aren’t sure if the average rate of monkeypox transmission is increasing due to the increased number of cases. Therefore, health authorities are closely monitoring the outbreak.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Monkeypox?
In contrast to Covid-19 patients, those who have Monkeypox are not infected until they develop symptoms. Once they’re symptomatic and have symptoms, the virus may be passed on until their scabs have completely healed.
If you suspect you be suffering from Monkeypox, stay at home and consult your health care provider in your country for advice. This is what both the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom advise. Most likely, you’ll be instructed to self-isolate. In the UK, for instance, any suspected or confirmed cases are directed to self-isolate for 21 days.
In some countries, PCR tests are offered to those suffering from skin rashes or who have been in contact with a positive case. The tests are necessary to prove that you are suffering from Monkeypox. If you’re offered one, try it if you are capable of it.
What If I Think I Have Been Exposed to Monkeypox?
Avoid contact with other people and call your health care provider for advice. You may be required to self-isolate and could also be given a vaccine.
How Is It Controlled and Treated?
The symptoms of Monkeypox are usually mild and go away by themselves without treatment. It is, however, able to be fatal. There is a risk of death. West African strain–which is the one that is responsible for the current outbreak has the highest mortality rate, which ranges from 1 to 3 percent. This Congo Basin strain has a death rate of 10. The most severe cases that lead to deaths are more likely to be seen in children of a young age, pregnant women, and people with immune deficiency. The virus may also cause pneumonia or complications, such as loss of vision if the infection gets into the eyes. Therefore, preventing disease is the best way to safeguard yourself.
Two vaccines have been approved by regulatory bodies which can do this. Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic has a vaccine (known as Jynneos in the US and Imvanex in Europe) that guards against both smallpoxes and Monkeypox. This vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019 for those over 18 who are at risk of contracting Monkeypox. This includes those who are immunosuppressed. The vaccine is known as ACAM200, licensed in the US to treat smallpox. This vaccine is an excellent option to guard against the disease Monkeypox. Moderna has revealed that it is currently conducting tests for potential vaccines against Monkeypox through preclinical research.
Based on data taken from Africa, The two vaccines are believed to be as high as 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox-related infection. They can also be administered for up to 4 days following exposure to Monkeypox to avoid spreading the disease. It is recommended to wait up to 2 weeks after exposure to decrease signs of illness for sick people.
Other options include an antiviral drug known as TPOXX, which the European Union approves to treat Monkeypox. Still, there are no approved antivirals for Monkeypox from the US FDA for the condition. However, the US CDC has recommended an antiviral–cidofovir–as a treatment, while a monoclonal antibody called vaccinia immune globulin could be used in the case of severe monkeypox illness. Research has shown that cidofovir can block smallpox and other viruses belonging to the same family of viruses in laboratory tests.
Where Can I Get Trustworthy Information on the Disease?
The World Health Organization, US CDC, and the UK Health Security Agency have been posting regular Twitter updates regarding the outbreak of Monkeypox. Global. Health–and the international group that provides real-time information on infectious diseases has developed a monkeypox tracker to track suspected and confirmed cases. They all provide accurate details regarding this current outbreak.
It is important not to stigmatize infected people. One of the biggest myths prevalent is that Monkeypox merely affects men who are sexually active with males or that this group is the one responsible for the spread. Anyone of any gender or sexual orientation may contract the illness.
Other wild lies are the claims that certain vaccines for Covid-19 can cause Monkeypox as they inject genomic information from chimpanzees into your cells. They also claim that the virus is transmitted by air and that the number of infections increases each day. The virus is the same as smallpox in terms of danger, and it’s an artificially-created virus that has been released from an experiment lab. None of that is true.