What is Monkeypox?

MonkeyPox

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by a virus known as the Monkeypox virus. This virus is part of the same class of viruses that causes variola virus or smallpox. A misconception is that Monkeypox is related to chickenpox – which is not the case.

The symptoms of Monkeypox are similar to smallpox but often more mild. They include: Fever, rash, headache, body aches, fatigue, and more.

Back in 1958, there were two outbreaks of a pox-like disease that was found in a colony of monkeys that were kept for research. The named condition of “Monkeypox” was used because they were found in monkish but the source of the disease remains unknown.

The first case of Monkeypox in humans was back in 1970. Often the outbreaks of this virus are seen in central and western African countries. Over the last few decades, most of those individuals that were diagnosed with this condition could be linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals.

The outbreak of 2022 has changed several of these guidelines and additional cases have been nearly impossible to link.

Symptoms:

– Rash
– Fever
– Body aches
– Chills
– Headache
– Swollen Lymph Nodes
– Fatigue/Exhaustion

It is important to understand that the Rash goes through different stages. The illness lasts 2-4 weeks. Often the rash starts as a small area – similar to a pimple or molluscum. The area is often circular. There can be several spots or “pox” seen on hands, back, and other areas.

How does Monkeypox Spread?

A.) Direct contact with scabs, rash, or body fluids
B.) Respiratory secretions
C.) Breathing on someone during close contact such as kissing and sexual activity
D.) Touch clothing, bedding, etc
E.) Pregnant women can pass the virus to their fetus through the placenta
F.) Infected animals – scratches or bitten
G.) Infected animals through preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

Animals involved in Transmission

– Rope and Sun Squirrels
– Giant-pouched Rats
– African Dormice
– Prairie dogs
– Monkeys
– Anteaters
– Hedgehogs
– Shrews
– Others
– Science does not know all animals that can be affected or transmit Monkeypox

**Dogs, cats, CPWS, Pigs, Sheep, Goats – Are all unknown transmission.

Prevention

1.) Avoid contact with those who might have Monkeypox or a similar rash

2.) Do not touch scabs and avoid close contact including hugging, kissing, or having sex with someone with Monkeypox

3.) Do not share utensils or cups with someone with Monkeypox

4.) Wear gloves when handling bedding with someone with Monkeypox.

5.) Wash hands often

6.) If traveling to Central and West Africa – avoid touching animals that can spread the virus.

What to do if you are sick with Monkeypox?

1.) Isolate at home during duration of rash

2.) If possible, stay in a separate room or away from people or pets you live with

Vaccine

1.) If you work or travel and are high risk of contacting Monkeypox – you can consider receiving a vaccine to help prevent transmission/symptoms.

Treatment

– No specific cures for Monkeypox
– The virus and symptoms will resolve on their own
– Antiviral drugs can help reduce symptoms
– Vaccines can help protect against smallpox and monkeypox viruses.

. Tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for some people at risk of becoming severely ill

– Tylenol and NSAIDS may help some of the symptoms.

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