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Monkeypox Virus is an Orthopoxvirus, a genus that includes camelpox, cowpox, vaccinia, and variola viruses. Monkeypox is similar to human smallpox but much milder in terms of complications and mortality. Monkeypox infection is transmitted to people from various wild animals with Secondary spread through human-to-human transmission. The Monkeypox illness can be fatal in humans, between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups (children).
There is currently no treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well.
The Mode of Transmission of Monkeypox is through contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. Transmission routes could be through:
- Animal to human transmission: an animal that is infected transmits the infection to humans when such an animal is eaten or when you come in contact with secretions such as urine and feces of such an animal.
- Direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding: when caring for infected people, wear protective clothing to avoid becoming infected. Contact with urine, feces or garments of infected individuals may transmit Monkeypox virus.
- Human to human transmission: apart from contact with materials infected as mentioned above, an infected person can transmit to another person through handshakes, secretions and other direct body contact.
- Large respiratory droplets: Monkeypox can be transmitted through air when infected persons sneeze, or cough or vomits and droplets are carried in the air.
Monkeypox Incubation period
Incubation period for Monkeypox ranges from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. This means when you get infected to when you start having symptoms, it takes about 6 days to 16 days or even 21 days. If you come in contact with anyone who had rashes or shows similar symptoms of Monkeypox and you start having similar symptoms 6 to 21 days following contact, it is likely Monkeypox and you need to see your doctor immediately.
Monkeypox Symptoms and Signs
Monkeypox is a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days. The infection can be divided into two periods:
Invasion Period: the Invasion period lasts between 0-5 days and it is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Intense headache
- Lymphadenopathy: There is presence of your lymph nodes becoming swollen. This is the distinctive feature of Monkeypox.
- Back pain
- Myalgia (Muscle pains)
- Intense asthenia (lack of energy)
Skin eruption period: The second period is the skin eruption period that occurs within 1-3 days after appearance of fever and it is characterize by eruption of rashes on different parts of the body.
Eruption of skin rashes on:
- Face in 95% of cases
- Palms of the hands and soles of the feet in 75% of cases
The evolution of the rash from maculopapules to vesicles and pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days. Three weeks might be necessary before the complete disappearance of the crusts.
Monkeypox Differential diagnosis
- Secondary Syphilis
Treatment for Monkeypox is basically supportive as there is currently no definitive treatment for it.
- Observe standard precautions to avoid getting infected while treating the patients.
- Isolation is helpful to prevent transmission
- Supportive treatment such as fluid therapy, prevent coinfection and complications.
- Use of Antiviral drugs have not shown any benefit
- Smallpox vaccine is helpful in preventing infection with Monkeypox virus infection
- Avoid eating of bush meat or wild animals
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands over running water with soap after every contact with people especially after handshakes.
- Do not try to treat yourself at home as you would transmit to love ones easily and may develop more complications and higher mortality.
- Visit the hospital immediately if you have similar symptoms. Hospital care is better than home care
- Report any known case of Monkeypox to your nearest disease control center or any health facility.