What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare infection term, and it is zoonotic in nature. Zoonosis is a viral infection that is transmitted from animals to humans.
We were able to eradicate smallpox with the help of vaccination. Monkeypox is an emerging virus, and almost 2000 people worldwide are affected by the virus, and the number of cases are slowly rising.
Monkeypox is an enveloped double-stranded DNA. There are two genetic clades, the Congo Basin clade (Central African) and the western African clade.
The Congo Basin clade is considered to be more transmissible and has the ability to cause severe disease in the affected person.
Animals like squirrels, rats and other primates are susceptible to the virus, and the spread also happens between and from these species.
The transmission of the virus happens when a person comes in contact with the infected animal’s blood, bodily fluid or mucus.
The other ways of transmission include undercooked meat and consuming infected animal products.
Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions and contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of monkeypox
The incubation of the virus ranges from 5-21 days. The incubation period is the onset of infection from the day you get infected.
The initial symptoms of the monkeypox virus include fever and chills, headache and fatigue. The fever is assisted with skin bumps.
The infected person starts to exhibit symptoms like lesions, becoming contagious at this stage.
Another common symptom of monkeypox is muscle pain.
Swollen lymph nodes
Monkeypox can make the lymph nodes swollen. Monkeypox distinguishes itself from smallpox when there is swelling of lymph nodes.
The illness can last for about four weeks, depending on the individual’s health and exposure to the virus.
Diagnosis of monkeypox
When you have bumps and rashes on your skin, it does not mean you will have monkeypox. It can also indicate chickenpox, scabies, measles and other bacterial infections.
The diagnosis of monkeypox can be done by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Polymerase chain reaction
The PCR is the preferred laboratory diagnosis. The fluid from the lesions and skin bumps. The fluid collected from the patients is stored in sterile and dry tubes.
Real-time PCR is preferred for monkeypox diagnosis. There is a certain duration for the sample to be collected from the patients. The sample should be collected after the onset of symptoms.
Prevention of monkey Pox
Minimise skin-to-skin contact
For the past 2-3 years, the world has had minimal human interaction due to the pandemic. This should be continued to avoid the spread of monkeypox.
The infection can spread through lesions and fluids from skin bumps. So, it is always better to avoid contact with the infected person.
Avoid contact with any materials
The fluid from skin bumps has the capability to spread infection. These fluids can contaminate surfaces, carrying the virus in the droplet.
So, avoid any contact with the material or the surface. It can be infected with the virus.
Practice good hand hygiene
Personal hygiene can help overcome any disease. Always wash your hands before eating and when you come in contact with the infected surface, wash your hands immediately.
If you cannot wash your hands, use the alternate option of sanitising with an alcohol-based sanitiser.
When to see a doctor?
Consult your doctor when you have symptoms like
- Fever assisted with chills and fatigue.
- Skin bumps and lesions.
- Contact with an infected person and
- Any new skin rash or sores.
Smallpox was eradicated with the help of a vaccine. There is evidence stating that there is a proximity between monkeypox and smallpox.
The vaccine used against smallpox can protect against monkeypox to some extent. Until there is clear evidence and proper vaccination, we should safeguard ourselves from infections by following the general guidelines mentioned above.
What is monkeypox and how does it spread?
Monkeypox is a zoonotic (infection that primarily spreads from animals to humans) virus, and it can also spread from a infected human to another.
How do you protect yourself from monkeypox?
Prevention is better than cure. Avoid contact with an infected person or a person suspected of infection. Rodents can also spread the infection. Practice good personal hygiene.If you touch the infected surface, wash your hands with soap immediately.
How long does it take to show symptoms of monkeypox?
The symptoms’ onset takes place one or two weeks from the day of infection.
Do I have to self-isolate if I have monkeypox?
If you have been diagnosed with monkeypox, your doctor will advise you to isolate yourself as you can pass on the infection to a healthy person.