Did you know?
- Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rain forests.
- The monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.
- The monkeypox virus is transmitted to people from various wild animals but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission.
- Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
- There is no treatment or vaccine available although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well
What is Monkeypox?
According to WHO, Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe. Smallpox was eradicated in 1980. However, monkeypox still occurs sporadically in some parts of Africa.
The virus was first identified in the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958 during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys.
How is Monkeypox transmitted?
It can be transmitted in two forms which include
- Direct transfer from the infected animal’s blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals also through the handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats, and squirrels, with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus. Eating the inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.
- Human – human transfer can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials. Transmission occurs primarily via droplet respiratory particles usually requiring prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts household members of active cases at greater risk of infection.
Signs and symptoms of Monkeypox
- nausea, and
- shortness of breath. After 2-4 days a rash with papules and pustules develops most often on the face and chest including mucous membranes inside the nose and mouth. These pox lesions can ulcerate, and then begin to heal in about 14-21 days. In addition, lymph nodes usually swell and some pox lesions may die.
Is Monkeypox curable?
The disease is usually mild and self-limiting meaning it would resolve on its own, however, There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.
Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox in the past. The vaccine is no longer available to the public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication. Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.
How to Prevent Monkeypox?
- Avoiding contact with infected animals especially those that are sick or found dead in areas where Monkeypox occurs.
- The public is advised to always wash hands with soap and water after contact with animals or when caring for sick relatives humans or soiled beddings.
- Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. They are also urged to be alert, be familiar with the symptoms and maintain a high index of suspicion.
- All suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers. “As long as universal infection prevention and control practices are strictly adhered to by all clinical staff, the chances of transmission are minimal.”