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What is Monkeypox? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. It primarily occurs in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

 Mostly from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to human transmission also occurs. Human-to-human transmission occurs by contact with lesions, body fluids. respiratory droplets and contaminated,materials such as bedding.

When was it discovered?
First discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name 'monkeypox'
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox.
Over the years, it occured in some other countries outside Africa, including US, Israel Singapore, and UK cases were linked to international travel or imported animals.

Where has monkeypox been detected? The WHO has declared monkeypox a 'public health emergency of international concern'. At least 16,836 confirmed cases and five deaths have been reported from at least 74 countries or territories since the start of 2022.

Highest number of confirmed cases:
• Spain (3,125)
• US (2,890)
• Germany (2,268)
• UK (2,208) • France (1,567)
• Netherlands (712) • Canada (681)
• Brazil (592)
• Portugal (588) • Italy (407)
• Belgium (311)
• Switzerland (216)
• Peru (143) • DRC (107) • Israel (105)
• Austria (99)  • Sweden (77) • Ireland (69) • Mexico (52)  • Nigeria (101)*

Has historically reported monkeypox.
Source: WHO, European CDC, US CDC, and Ministries of Health | July 24, 2022

How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox is transmitted through contact with an infected person or animal, or material contaminated with the virus. Person-to-person, it can spread through physical contact, including sexual contact.

Monkeypox can spread through:

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a usually mild virus that causes fever as well as a bumpy rash. It is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals but human transmission is also possible. The rash tends to first develop on the face before spreading elsewhere on the body.

Two years back, coronavirus had caught the world unprepared as hospitals got overwhelmed amid soaring cases. It was not before a year into the pandemic that vaccines were developed, and the situation could be brought under control.

But the monkeypox outbreak, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said can be managed with proper engagement. A majority of cases have been reported among men who have sex with men.

According to the world health body, vaccines that have been used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. "Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of monkeypox," according to a factsheet put up by the WHO.

Meanwhile, according to top US medical body, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - are available for preventing monkeypox infection JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000.

The medical body further says that vaccines against smallpox work on monkeypox because of close link between the two viruses. "Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox," says the CDC.

However, there is a note of caution. "ACAM2000 is administered as a live Vaccinia virus preparation that is inoculated into the skin by pricking the skin surface.

Following a successful inoculation, a lesion will develop at the site of the vaccination The virus growing at the site of this inoculation lesion can be spread to other parts of the body or even to other people.

Individuals who receive vaccination with ACAM2000 must take precautions to prevent the spread of the vaccine virus and are considered vaccinated within 28 days," says the CDC.

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