The novel Coronavirus, which proved to be the most lethal and infectious virus completely altering the course of human life, caused a pandemic that truly terrorized the core of everyone’s daily life. Over the course of the past few months, a downward spike was noticed in the rates of Covid cases occurring. What one may have initially thought of as reverting back to normalcy, turns out to be a myth as a new danger presents itself to us, in the name of Monkeypox.
The monkeypox virus (or a viral zoonotic disease) is what causes monkeypox in humans and animals, an uncommon condition that resembles smallpox. It is a member of the family of Poxviridae’s genus Orthopoxvirus. It generally occurs in central and west African tropical rainforests. Over 500 suspected cases, 200 confirmed cases, and a case fatality rate of about 3% have been reported and found in Nigeria since 2017. Cases in the region are still being reported to date. However, a periodic spread to other regions has been noticed in the past few weeks which poses a cause for extreme concern and worry.
Given that it affects the rest of the world in addition to countries in west and central Africa, monkeypox is a disease of worldwide public health importance. It’s a critical virus that requires immediate attention.
Humans are contracting monkeypox on the basis of coming into intimate contact with an animal or any person who has already contracted the disease. It can also occur in humans by coming into contact with contaminated objects. Similar to those of smallpox, the signs of monkeypox are seen in humans. As a result, the vaccines administered as part of the smallpox eradication program are being used to protect against monkeypox.
Monkeypox is considered a disease that has symptoms lasting for around 2 to 4 weeks, the World Health Organization informed, “In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3-6%.”
Through this article, we will take you through some of the common Monkeypox disease symptoms, the causes, the natural hosts, and the potential treatment required.
What Are Some Of The Natural Hosts Of Monkeypox?
According to WHO, the Monkeypox disease has been found to be contagious in a number of animal species. These include, “… rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, non-human primates and other species.”
However, there still remains confusion regarding the history of the virus, and the primary natural host remains unknown. Elaborate research is required for identification.
Symptoms And Signs Of Monkeypox Disease
Within the initial exposure to the virus, symptoms may take a while to show up; ranging between the course of a few days.
Early signs of the monkeypox disease include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Intense headache
- Fatigue or Asthenia
- Lymphadenopathy (or swelling of the lymph nodes)
- Muscle ache
These are the initial symptoms that may come to the surface. After a few days, one may witness skin eruptions or rashes. These rashes originally appear as red spots on the skin, which eventually develop into blisters filled with pus. Eventually, they get crusty and fall off. Besides affecting most of the face and the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, they also affect the oral mucous membranes, the genitalia, and conjunctiva, along with the cornea.
Causes Of Monkeypox Virus
Commonly, it’s in youngsters that the severe cases are more frequent. Also important is to note that one may not experience all these symptoms if they’re affected by the virus. In fact, if specific cases are observed, some of these symptoms are not following a similar pattern of behavior. You may be asymptomatic, while still having contracted the virus, which makes it especially dangerous. Hence, the restrictions on close, intimate contact with other humans should be maintained thoroughly.
Although prone to occurring less frequently, monkeypox can spread from person to person. When you come into contact with the scabs, respiratory droplets, sores, or oral secretions of an infected person — typically on close, personal grounds— the transmission of the virus is likely to happen.
What has also been discovered is that congenital monkeypox can result in transmission through the placenta, which can also happen during intimate contact during labor and after the delivery. It is still, however, not known if monkeypox can be transferred specifically through sexual transmission channels, despite the fact that intimate physical contact is definitely a sure-shot, well-known risk factor for further transmission. Further studies are being conducted to extract a verdict on the matter.
Prevention Methods For Monkeypox Disease
The key method to prevent the disease from further contamination and transmission is by raising awareness and maintaining a thorough restriction on close, intimate contact. People should be well-informed on how to reduce potential exposure to the virus.
Besides awareness, practicality should be followed, as advised by CDC. Close, skin-to-skin contact with anyone infected with rashes should be avoided. If you know someone who has contracted the virus and you’re in close contact with them, avoid touching their towels, clothes, or any other objects that have been used by them, including utensils and any other shared article. As was the case during the Covid-19, make sure to sanitize. You can either use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially if you have come into contact with people who have been infected.
Treatment / Cure for Monkeypox Disease
There have been no specific treatments administered in monkeypox cases. However, since the viruses that cause monkeypox and smallpox are genetically related, antiviral medications and vaccines designed to defend against smallpox may also be taken into consideration to treat and prevent infections resulting from the monkeypox virus. In fact, several observational studies have shown that the smallpox vaccination is roughly around 85% effective in the prevention of the monkeypox virus.
Usually, most people with monkeypox get better on their own without treatment since it’s a self-limited disease. However, upon diagnosis, the medical practitioner will offer the infected person some antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infections that are prone to occur. They will also advise them to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. In case of dehydration, the symptoms may take a turn for the worst.
According to the CDC statement, “Antivirals, such as Tecovirimat (TPOXX) could be up for recommendation for people who have a weaker immune system and are more likely to easily contract the Monkeypox virus.”
A recent statement by WHO supports the Member States with surveillance, preparedness, and outbreak response activities for monkeypox in affected countries. This means, that despite an increase in panic and worry regarding the virus, active measures are absolutely being taken and the situation is being actively looked after. In such trying times, everyone should be following the preventive measures advocated by WHO and other international health boards and institutions.