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Monkeypox- A Rare Viral Disease

Monkeypox- A Rare Viral Disease

2022-07-12 00:00:00

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease similar to smallpox in humans. It was discovered in 1958. Humans were first exposed to monkeypox in 1970. The disease is common in the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the family Poxviridae. Variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus are the other significant members of the Orthopoxvirus genus.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) and is considered a mild infection with symptoms such as fever, headache and rashes. People may be infected with monkeypox through contact with infected animals, especially sick or dead animals.

It can also be passed from person to person, but this is rare. When you come into contact with viral particles from an infected person, it is called human-to-human transmission. Coughing, sneezing, and airborne droplets can spread the infection.

Symptoms of Monkeypox

Symptoms of monkeypox are similar but milder than smallpox. Symptoms appear in 2 stages and usually last 2 to 4 weeks.

In stage 1, the following symptoms may occur

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Joint pain.
  • Back pain.
  • Fatigue.

In stage 2, a rash develops within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) of the onset of fever. The rash often starts on the face or limbs, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the arms, feet, mouth, and genitals.

The rash usually lasts between 14 and 28 days and goes through various stages before eventually forming a scab which then disappears.

Prevention for Monkeypox

The rash usually lasts between 14 and 28 days and goes through various stages before eventually forming a scab which then disappears.

There are many steps to prevent monkeypox virus

  • Avoid direct contact with animals that can transmit the virus. This includes sick or dead animals in areas where monkeypox is common.
  • Avoid contact with materials that have been in contact with sick animals.
  • Isolate infected people from others who may be at risk.
  • Practice hand hygiene after contact with infected people or animals. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when treating infected patients.
  • In addition, the smallpox vaccine is about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.

How to diagnose Monkeypox?

  • A swab of skin or lesion secretions can easily be taken to identify monkeypox virus. Samples may be stored in a cool, dark place if refrigerated storage is not available.
  • Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy are technical means of confirming the diagnosis. Quantitative PCR technique has proven reliable in detecting viruses. However, this technique is not available in rural Africa, where the disease occurs, and is therefore not very helpful in diagnosing monkeypox.
  • A new technique called Tetracore Orthopox Biothreat Alert, offers the possibility to identify the virus. This is useful in infectious areas as it doesn't require much expertise. Severe temperature conditions are not required to carry out the test.

Treatment for Monkeypox

There is no cure for monkeypox virus infection in humans. There are currently 3 antiviral compounds to treat monkeypox

  • ST-246It prevents viruses from being released from cells and has been shown to be effective in controlling infection with some orthopox viruses. It is not approved to treat monkeypox infection but is sometimes used to treat other orthopoxviruses infections.
  • CidofovirIt blocks enzymes involved in viral multiplication. However, this drug is toxic to the kidneys. It is tentatively approved for the treatment of other orthopox viral infections.
  • CMX-001It is a cidofovir compound which is not toxic to the kidneys. It has been shown to be effective in controlling the multiplication of various orthopoxviruses. It's still in development.The vaccine against the smallpox virus used for smallpox is also used as a vaccination tool. However, live virus is a cause for concern because complications can develop in some people with compromised immune systems. Inactivated vaccine viruses are also used, but these are not as effective as some of the compounds mentioned. Vaccinate a person in advance if they are known to work in an area prone to monkeypox infection. After contact with an infected person, vaccination is recommended within 4 to 14 days of exposure.

When to see a doctor?

If you are experiencing symptoms of monkeypox, and especially if you develop a rash with fever and swollen lymph nodes, you should isolate yourself from others and seek medical attention.

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