Monkeypox disease- Its outbreak, symptoms and treatment
Monkeypox is a rare disease that can be transmitted through close contact with an infected individual. An ongoing outbreak of this viral disease was confirmed in 2022, beginning with a cluster of cases found in the United Kingdom. Is Monkeypox man-made or from the wild? Is Monkeypox the new pandemic?
Monkeypox disease- Its outbreak, symptoms, and treatment
Monkeypox is a rare disease discovered in 1958. It was found when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in groups of monkeys. It is caused by a Monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. It is a virus transmitted to humans from animals. It is a viral zoonosis with less severe symptoms than those found in smallpox patients. It has come into view as an essential orthopoxvirus for public health. It primarily occurs in Africa, often close to tropical rainforests and regions. Now, it has been spreading more towards the urban areas as well. There are no deaths reported because of this outbreak as yet but Monkeypox can lead to other problems like pneumonia, infections in the brain and eyes, etc.
It all started when it was first identified in humans in 1970; in a 9-month-old boy in the region where smallpox was eliminated. This originated at the beginning of this disease and most cases were reported from rural, tropical areas. As the international travel guidelines have eased out, the virus that was once controlled by a specific area can be easily spread around the world. As a consequence of this, a case of Monkeypox was discovered in a US citizen who had traveled from Nigeria to the United States in the summer of 2021. Then in 2022, there were cases found outside Africa including Europe, America, and Australia.
How do you catch Monkeypox?
When you come into contact with an animal or a person who is infected with the virus, you could develop Monkeypox. Animal bites, scratches, or direct contact with an infected animal's blood can cause human-to-animal transmission. Catching this disease from an infected person is less common. However, it can still spread this way, when you come in touch with the sores, scabs, respiratory droplets, or oral secretions of an infected person- typically in a close and intimate setting. Person-to-person infections can also take place if you potentially contact Monkeypox by touching recently contaminated items like bedding, clothes, and other linens that were worn by a person with that disease.
After exposure to the above-mentioned unfortunate situations, it may be several days to a few months before you develop any symptoms. Monkeypox is a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting for 2-4 weeks. Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes are among the early indications of this disease. Whereas, a rash appears a few days later. It initially appears as an unpleasant, flat, red pimple. These lumps develop into blisters that ooze out pus. The blister's crust falls off and the procedure takes 2-4 weeks. Additionally, ulcers in the mouth, vagina, or anus are also possible.
In the current 2022 outbreak, you can have this disease and not know it as not every Monkeypox patient experiences every symptom. In actuality, many of the cases don't exhibit the typical constellation of symptoms. Only a few lesions, no swollen lymph nodes, less fever, and fewer other signs of illness are present in this unusual case. But, this does not stop the infected people from spreading it further through close contracts.
Infections can be divided into two periods:-
1. The 0-5 day invasion period is marked by fever, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, fatigue, muscle ache, etc.
2. Typically, the skin eruption starts 1-3 days after the onset of fever. Instead of the trunk, the rash is more frequently found on the face and palms. It impacts the face (95% of cases), hands, feet as well as the sole of the feet (75% of cases).
Your healthcare provider collects tissue from an open sore (lesion) in order to diagnose Monkeypox. After that, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is performed on it. It is essential that the patient's information such as age, the date of fever, the date on which the rash first appeared, current stage of the rash, be included with the specimens in order to understand the test results.
Can it be treated?
Most victims of the Monkeypox virus recover on their own without medical intervention. After a diagnosis, your doctor will keep an eye on your health, try to alleviate your symptoms, keep you hydrated and give antibiotics to treat any developing secondary bacterial infections. Monkeypox is not currently managed with an antiviral medication. Antiviral drugs may be helpful as they haven't been researched as a treatment for monkeypox. There are a number of investigational antivirals with effectiveness against Monkeypox, however, they can only be used in research studies.
Several observational studies have shown that smallpox vaccination is roughly 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox. There may be a milder sickness as a result of previous smallpox vaccination. A scar on the upper arm is present as proof of previous smallpox immunization. The first-generation (original) smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general population. Some laboratory or healthcare employees may have had a current smallpox vaccination to safeguard them from Orthopoxvirus exposure at work. In 2019, a brand-newer vaccine based on the Ankara strain of the modified vaccinia virus was authorized for the prevention of Monkeypox. This two-dose vaccine is still only partially available to the general public.
How to prevent it?
Monkeypox can be prevented using a smallpox vaccination, but its usage is non-restricted to clinical studies. Limiting person-to-person transmission and reducing human contact with diseased animals are essential to prevention.
The best way to prevent this disease from spreading:-
- Avoid contact with infected an animal
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid contact with people who are having symptoms of Monkeypox
- Wear a mask to cover the nose and mouth
- Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts of animals
How to take care of yourself?
- Oatmeal Bath - The dry, itchy sensation that occurs with skin rashes can be relieved by soaking in a warm bath with colloidal oatmeal.
- Avoid contact with pets
- Isolate yourself
- Pain relievers and fever reducers
You should immediately call your health provider if you feel sick with fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes, have a new rash or sores, or have been in close contact with an infected person.
The Covid-19 pandemic drastically altered how we lived and worked over the course of the past two years, making them exceedingly difficult. Just when we're settling back into daily life, the media is inundated with reports of Monkeypox as a potential threat. But Monkeypox is a rare disease and one should take precautions so that it is prevented from spreading.
I hope this blog could give you an idea about how to stay safe and keep your distance from infected people so that this disease- Monkeypox does not become a new pandemic.