What you should know about Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus was first discovered in research monkeys in 1958, meaning “monkeypox”. Human infection with monkeypox first emerged in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Since then, monkeypox outbreaks have mainly occurred in Central and West Africa.

Symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder. In the days following monkeypox infection, patients experience fever, severe headache, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Severely swollen lymph nodes can be a distinguishing feature of monkeypox before a rash develops. About 1 to 3 days after the fever, sores develop in the mouth and rashes on other body parts. The rash usually progresses from a maculopapular inflammation to blisters, pustules, and crusts within ten days to two weeks. Rashes on all aspects of the body generally develop simultaneously.

Symptoms of monkeypox last 14 to 21 days, and patients usually resolve independently. In past monkeypox outbreaks, the mortality rate for patients has ranged from 1% to 10%.

People can become infected when they contact infected animals, infected people, or contaminated objects. Humans can become infected if they are bitten or scratched by wild animals. Such as some primates, rodents and squirrels, or if they come into direct contact with bodily fluids. Droplet transmission caused by long-term face-to-face contact, or direct contact with body fluids, may also spread the virus from person to person. The incubation period ranges from 5 to 21 days, usually 6 to 13 days.

There has been evidence that the smallpox vaccine is also effective in preventing monkeypox. A new vaccine called “Jynneos” was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019 to avoid monkeypox infection. Europe also recently approved a new antiviral drug to treat monkeypox.

To reduce the risk of infection, citizens travelling to places affected by the monkeypox virus should avoid contact with sick people or animals. When caring for sick people or handling animals, wear protective clothing and gear, including gloves and surgical masks. Wash your hands after these procedures. Cook all animal products thoroughly before eating; If you have any suspicious symptoms, you should seek medical attention in time.

About the current spread of monkeypox, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in addition to African countries, 29 countries had reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox. Health authorities in Greece said the first monkeypox was detected there. At the same time, the first suspected case of infection was also seen in Brazil.

The patient found in Greece entered the country from Portugal earlier, and the initial test was positive. He is currently hospitalized and is in stable condition. The sample will be further tested.

The first suspected monkeypox infection was also found in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The patient was a 41-year-old man who had recently travelled to Spain and Portugal. He began to develop symptoms on the 28th of last month and received treatment in the hospital. The authorities are awaiting test results.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the risk of the monkeypox virus does exist, but it is still controllable. There have been more than 1,400 suspected cases in African countries this year, and 66 people have died. Unfortunately, due to monkeypox virus in high-income countries appeared, and the international community began to pay attention.

According to Dr Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s monkeypox technical lead, close contact between people is the primary way of transmission. Still, it is not fully clear whether it is transmitted through aerosols. It is recommended that caregivers wear masks.

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