Monkeypox has been the centre of discussion in media reports recently due its increased cases reported recently. What is this monkeypox and how is it caused? Is it fatal? Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus and is largely a mild pox-like illness. It is attributed as a close relative of smallpox virus – which has been eradicated now.
Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd explains that the first case of monkeypox was reported in the year 1958, when a colony of monkeys who were being studied for research purposes got infected by it. The actual source of the virus has never been determined. Ziqitza is a leading healthcare and emergency service provider, and further elaborates that rodents and monkeys in Africa are considered as the harbour of the virus. The cases of human infections of monkeypox were earlier only limited to the African countries; however, more recently, cases of monkeypox have surfaced in multiple continents. Whether the infections attain the status of a pandemic or not, only time will tell, but the good news is that these infections are rarely fatal.
Ziqitza Healthcare states that based on scientific evidence, as of now there are two kinds of monkeypox viruses that have been identified – the West African and the Congo basin virus. The current outbreak of monkeypox is of the West African subtype. The basic difference between these viruses is in their fatality rate – the West African strain has a fatality rate of one percent, whereas the Congo variant can kill up to 10% of patients. Ziqitza Rajasthan, notes that majority of the virus related complications are experienced by people who are immunocompromised, or have morbidities, pregnant women and young children.
Monkeypox virus largely spreads when a person comes in direct contact with the rash or body fluid of an infected person or animal. The virus is also airborne and is spread when the patient coughs or sneezes, though prolonged face to face contact is needed for transmission. Ziqitza Limited explains that disease further spreads through prolonged physical and sexual contact. There have been incidents where mother-to-child transmission of the virus has been reported. The virus further spreads through clothes, bedding and towels of the infected persons.
The disease lasts a fortnight to a month, and has an incubation period of one to two weeks. Fever with chills, muscle pains, sore throat and headache are some of the common symptoms of the monkeypox, explains ZHL Rajasthan. The two symptoms that act as a differential for monkeypox are swollen lymph glands and rashes resembling pimples or blisters. A person infected with monkeypox, remains infective from 1-2 days before rash till the time the rashes are healed, scabs have fallen and a new layer of skin has formed over the rashes or blisters.
What to do in case you have symptoms?
In a scenario, wherein an individual has developed symptoms of monkey pox, he/she must isolate themselves, consult their doctor and get tested for monkeypox. It is best to get admitted in specialized isolation facility in a hospital. The reports usually take a few days, since the samples are sent to specialised virology labs. The suspected patients must avoid coming in contact with other family members and remain isolated in order to avoid disease transmission.
Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan points out that unfortunately there is no specific medicine or vaccine specifically for monkeypox at present.
Ziqitza Healthcare Limited states that the future is full of uncertainties and the only key to keep oneself safe is by following hygiene and safety protocols.