What is Monkey pox?

It is a rare zoonosis disease that is transmitted from animals to humans coming from the monkeypox virus also known as orthopoxvirus which is a highly viral infectious disease, causing rash and flu like symptoms less severe, to smallpox.

It was first discovered in 1958, when some monkey used for research got infected with the outbreak of pox-like disease. It is transmitted by mainly human contact with infected rodents such as: squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, different species of monkeys and others. It can also be spread to skin-to-skin contact by body fluid, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects like clothing, bedding and other linens used by a person who is infected or an infected animal.

There are mainly two types of monkey pox virus, one that originated in Central Africa and one that originated in West Africa. The viral infection affects anybody, although in Africa it commonly affects children under 15 years of age and also very common in men who have sexual intercourse with men.

What Causes Monkey pox?

The main cause of Monkey pox is the Monkeypox virus (MPXV) which is a double-stranded DNA virus also known as orthopoxvirus, family Poxviridae.

Signs and symptoms of Monkey pox

The early clinical manifestations of monkey pox first few days after exposure are listed below:

  1. Fever
  2. Chills
  3. Headache
  4. Muscle aches
  5. Fatigue
  6. Lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes)
  7. Nausea
  8. Malaise

The late clinical manifestations of monkey pox after 4-7 days of exposure are listed below:

  1. Rash or lesions that are seen as flat, red bumps on the skin
  2. Blisters filled with pus
  3. Sores in the mouth, vagina and anus
  4. Papules/Pustules seen on the face, trunk and extremities
  5. Intense asthenia (lack of energy)

How is monkeypox diagnosed?

The disease can be diagnosed using the following techniques listed below:

  1. Physical examination: This is done when the medical personnel inspects the patient for any abnormal red swelling filled with fluid or pus on the skin or mucosal membrane of the body, also the medical personnel checks ask the patient health related questions based on the history of when the swelling started and their exposure.
  2. Skin biopsy: this is done when the health care professional takes a sample of the skin or the lesion for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing (genetic fingerprinting).
  3. Blood sample: this is done when the blood sample of an individual is collected to check if there is any viral or bacterial organism causing the infection.

Treatment of Monkey pox

Research has not found a vaccine against monkeypox, but the smallpox antiviral drugs can be used to treat monkey pox effectively.

Management of Monkeypox

The management of monkey pox is listed below:

  1. Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce fever
  2. Practice oatmeal baths to reduce itching and dry feeling of the skin
  3. Isolate yourself if you are infected
  4. Avoid immediate contact with rodents and monkeys
  5. If you have lesions on the skin, ensure you cover up with gauze or bandages

Prevention of Monkey pox

The prevention of monkey pox is highlighted below:

  1. Avoid coming in contact with infected animals especially dead or sick animals
  2. Ensure that all your foods are thoroughly cooked especially if it contains meat.
  3. Wash your hands frequently with antiseptic soap and water
  4. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for people infected with the virus
  5. Ensure to avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like table, chairs and rails
  7. Ensure you give your children smallpox vaccine to prevent monkeypox

Complication of Monkeypox

The complication of monkeypox is listed below

  1. Encephalitis (infection of the brain tissue)
  2. Bronchopneumonia
  3. Sepsis
  4. Infection of the cornea







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