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The World Health Organization in a news release confirmed the detection of 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox in several countries around the world.
WHO said confirmed cases have been identified in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
According to White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, the number of cases could still rise in the days ahead.
With the still looming threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of monkeypox is worrisome. But it always helps to be equipped with knowledge about the disease.
Here’s what you need to know about monkeypox:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox was discovered in 1958 in a colony of monkeys kept for research. Its first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.
It belongs to the Orthopoxvirus which also includes variola virus (causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.
Signs and Symptoms
CDC said the symptoms of the disease are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.
It begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills, and exhaustion. Unlike in smallpox, monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell.
The incubation period for monkeypox, or the time from infection to manifestation of symptoms, is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
It is between 1-3 days (or sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever that the patient develops a rash which often begins on the face then spreads to other parts of the body.
The lesions progress through the following stages before falling off: Macules-Papules-Vesicles-Pustules-Scabs.
Monkeypox typically lasts for 2−4 weeks.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus.
Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets or through direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.
An appropriate sample is collected from suspected cases of monkeypox. The samples are then transported safely to a laboratory with appropriate capability where it will undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. PCR test is used as it is more accurate and sensitive. Where feasible, biopsy is also an option.
Monkeypox virus could be prevented with the following measures:
Avoiding contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
Avoiding contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
Isolating infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
Practicing good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.
While there is still no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection, smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) is used to control the outbreak.
An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.