- Recently, the health authorities in the United Kingdom have confirmed a case of monkeypox.
- Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to smallpox.
- It is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes:
- variola virus, which causes smallpox, and
- vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two distinct clades are identified:
- the West African clade and
- the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.
- Occurrence of Disease:
- The infection was first discovered in 1958
- The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- Monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion.
- It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
- Incubation period: usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
- Zoonotic disease: It is a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
- Human-to-human transmission is limited and the overall risk to the general public is very low.
- Transmission can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.
- There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet.
- The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms.
- Awareness is important for the prevention and control of the infection.