Causes, Symptoms & Prevention – Health Blog

Contributed by: Anjali Sharma

Introduction

Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that there are more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox worldwide, 80 percent of which occur in Europe?

India is the 10th country in Asia and the first in South Asia to report monkeypox cases.

Currently, ten confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in India, three of them in Kerala and five in Delhi, and eight suspected cases, one each in Delhi and Telangana, two in Bihar and four in Uttar Pradesh.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the spread of the monkeypox virus. It causes flu-like symptoms and a rash. It is a member of the orthopoxvirus family, along with the more well-known smallpox virus.

Two outbreaks of pox-like conditions occurred in groups of monkeys used for research, leading to the discovery of monkeypox in 1958.

Despite being called ‘monkeypox’, the origin of the illness is still a mystery. However, the virus can infect humans through African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys).

It was first discovered in a person in 1970. Its incidence has been documented in several Central and West African countries prior to the 2022 pandemic.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

  1. fever
  2. headache
  3. Back pain and muscle pain
  4. swollen lymph nodes; This swelling can be seen in many places including armpits and neck.
  5. cold
  6. Fatigue and weakness
  7. Breathing problems (such as sore throat, stuffy nose, or cough)

A rash that may resemble acne or blisters may develop on the face, inside the mouth, hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

Initially appearing as colorless patches of skin, its rashes develop into raised bumps, blisters, and large, pus-filled pimples that eventually scab and fall off.

According to the WHO, in severe cases, many skin rashes can coalesce to form a large lesion that sheds a significant portion of the skin at once.

Diagnosis of monkeypox

Because of the rarity of monkeypox, your healthcare professional may initially identify measles or chickenpox as the source of your outbreak. However, enlarged lymph nodes often distinguish monkeypox from other pox.

Your healthcare professional collects tissue from an open sore to diagnose monkeypox (lesions). Next, a lab performs a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on it (genetic fingerprinting). Additionally, a blood sample may be needed to test for monkeypox virus or antibodies your immune system has made against it.

How is monkeypox spread?

When you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus, you can develop monkeypox. Animals can spread the disease by biting or scratching humans, or by direct contact from their blood, body fluids, or infected animals (wounds).

Although less frequent, it can be transmitted from person to person. When you come in contact with sores, scabs, Respiratory system Person-to-person spread (also known as transmission) occurs through droplets or oral secretions of an infected person. This usually occurs in intimate, personal situations such as hugging, kissing, or intercourse. Although a study is underway, it is not clear whether the virus is spread by semen or vaginal secretions.

Additionally, exposure to contaminated items including clothing, bedding, and other linens used by animals can cause monkeypox.

How can you prevent monkeypox?

You can take the following steps to prevent monkeypox:

  • Stay away from diseased animals (especially sick or dead animals).
  • Avoid contact with contaminated bedding and other items
  • Thoroughly cook all items containing meat or other animal products
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Keep your distance from people who may carry the virus.
  • When among other people, wear a mask that covers your face and nose.
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when providing medical care to those who have the virus

Last thought

The prevalence of monkeypox is increasing every day and it is important to know its causes and symptoms. Here we review the origin, symptoms, how monkeypox is spread and what are its preventive measures.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), monkeypox has now been declared a global health emergency due to its increasing cases in 75 countries so far.
It is still rare, but its outbreak is a wake-up call for people around the world to take protection and preventive measures to reduce the chance of becoming infected. So instead of turning a blind eye to this virus you should follow the above mentioned preventive measures and prevent its spread.

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