Monkeypox has relatively a recent history,the disease and the causative virus adopted the name or was given the name monkeypox because the lesions (pox) seen in
monkeys developed like other known pox-forming diseases (pustules that eventually break open, ulcerate, crust over, and some pox form scars in the skin).Studies have
shown that the virus is endemic in monkeys and rodents(rats,hamster,squirrel,chinchilla,mouse,gerbil,beaver.) in Africa
Although,Monkeypox is relatively a rare disease that was first detected in monkeys in Africa in 1958 and resembles smallpox in terms of the skin lesions (pox) seen in
humans as part of the physical findings and also because the cause is a virus that is closely related to the smallpox (variola) virus. Monkeypox, smallpox, cowpox, and
vaccinia viruses all belong to the same family of viruses, the Poxviridae. Monkeypox belongs to same genus (Orthopoxvirus) as smallpox. The disease is different from
smallpox. Monkeypox may be transferred from animals to people (or person to person) and has far less mortality (death rate) than smallpox had. Monkeypox virus is
endemic in rodent populations in Africa. Smallpox did not infect any endemic animal population. The press and bloggers have occasionally tried to link monkeypox to
other diseases such as mad cow disease, Ebola, leprosy, yellow fever, and other viral and immunological diseases, but there is no scientific evidence for this
In 2017, an outbreak of monkeypox began in Nigeria. The Minister of Health said the virus has spread to 11 states and 74 suspected individuals are affected. This large
outbreak is thought to be triggered by river flooding that has caused infected wild animals (especially rodents and monkeys) to more closely associate with humans,
thus spreading this zoonotic (transmitted to humans from animals) disease.
How is monkeypox Transmitted?
Monkeypox is caused by an Orthopoxvirus named monkeypox,it is transmitted usually by direct contact with infected animals or possibly by eating poorly cooked meat from
an infected rodent or monkey. Cutaneous (skin) or mucosal (mucor) lesions on the infected animals are a likely source of transmission to humans, especially when the
human skin is broken due to bites, scratches, or other trauma — are a likely source for virus infection. Person-to-person transfer, probably by infected respiratory
droplets, is possible but is not often documented. One study suggested that only about 8%-15% of infections were transmitted person to person among close family
Signs And Symptoms
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox in humans. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
Locations where lymph nodes are found in the human body (lymphatic system)
The illness begins with the following:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:
The illness lasts for 2−4 weeks. IMonkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease in Africa.
It can be prevented by avoiding eating or touching animals known to acquire the virus in the wild (mainly African rodents and monkeys). Person-to-person transfer has been documented. Patients who have the disease should physically isolate themselves until all of the pox lesions have healed (lost their crusts), and people who are caring for these patients should use gloves and face masks to avoid any direct or droplet contact. Caregivers should obtain a smallpox vaccination (see below).
Because smallpox and monkeypox are so closely related, studies have suggested that people vaccinated against smallpox have about an 85% chance of being protected from monkeypox. Consequently, the CDC recommends the following:
- Patients with depressed immune systems and those who are allergic to latex or smallpox vaccine should not get the smallpox vaccine.
- Anyone else who has been exposed to monkeypox in the past 14 days should get the smallpox vaccine, including children under 1 year of age, pregnant women, and people with skin conditions.
There is no commercially available vaccine designed specifically for monkeypox yet.