The monkeypox virus was discovered in 1958 and has only ever been found in monkeys. Is monkeypox deadly? It’s a virus that mimics smallpox but causes milder symptoms. Despite the disease’s rarity, breakouts in Africa and the United States have prompted widespread worry in recent years. What is monkeypox, how does it spread, what symptoms it causes, and is it fatal? all will be discussed in this article.
What is Monkeypox?
The Monkeypox virus, an Orthopoxvirus, is the causative agent of monkeypox. Since its initial discovery in monkeys in 1958, the disease has spread to other species before finally being diagnosed in humans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Since then, reports of cases have come in from the United States and a number of nations in Africa.
How is Monkeypox Transmitted?
Contact with diseased animals is the primary route by which humans contract monkeypox. Monkeys, squirrels, rats, and other small mammals are hosts for the virus. The virus can spread from person to person in humans either through bodily fluids (blood, saliva, pus) or contaminated things (bedding, clothing). Transmission from human to human is feasible but uncommon.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
Monkeypox has milder versions of the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox has an incubation period of 7-14 days. Fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion are the first signs. After this, a rash starts on the face and quickly spreads across the body. Blisters loaded with fluid form as the rash develops; they eventually crust over and fall off. The incubation period of the disease is 2- 4 weeks.
Is Monkeypox a Deadly Disease?
Although monkeypox is rarely fatal, it can cause considerable illness. Between 1 and 10 percent of monkeypox cases are fatal, according to estimates. The condition is milder in healthy adults, but can be fatal in the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems due to HIV/AIDS. Supportive care can help with the symptoms of monkeypox, but there is presently no cure.
Prevention of Monkeypox
The easiest approach to avoid getting monkeypox is to stay away from sick animals. One way to prevent exposure to the virus is to stay away from potential carriers such rats, monkeys, and other small mammals. You should also avoid eating bushmeat if you are in an area where cases of monkeypox have been reported. Good hygiene, such as often washing hands with soap and water and not putting dirty hands in one’s mouth or nose, is also crucial.
Vaccination for Monkeypox
Although research is ongoing, no licensed monkeypox vaccine is available at this time. Due to their close relationship, persons who have been vaccinated against smallpox may already be partially protected from monkeypox. Also, although they are not generally available, there are antiviral drugs that have been proved to be effective against monkeypox.
Outbreaks of Monkeypox
Monkeypox has recently spread over various African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Nigeria. In 2003, the United States experienced its greatest outbreak outside of Africa, with 47 confirmed or probable cases. Most of these outbreaks may be traced back to African prairie dogs kept as pets in the United States. Multiple minor outbreaks have occurred in the US and elsewhere since then.
Contact with infected animals is the most common way for humans to contract the virus that causes monkeypox. The illness resembles smallpox but is milder. Monkeypox can be quite dangerous, yet it only rarely proves deadly. The easiest approach to prevent monkeypox is to maintain excellent hygiene habits like frequent hand washing and stay away from sick animals.
Although monkeypox is a potentially lethal disease, it is actually quite uncommon. Avoiding contact with diseased animals and maintaining high standards of personal hygiene are your best defenses against contracting this disease. The smallpox vaccine may offer some protection against monkeypox, which currently lacks a licensed vaccine. Seek emergency medical assistance if you have any reason to believe you have been exposed to monkeypox.