Everything you need to know about monkeypox

while currently The monkeypox outbreak will be the first time many people have heard of the disease, a virus thought to have infected humans for centuries, possibly even millennia. A member of the same virus family as chickenpox and smallpox, The first recorded case of monkeypox dates back to 1958when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of laboratory monkeys for research – hence the name.

That’s a bit of a misnomer, though.Viruses are usually carried by rodents Such as squirrels, kangaroos and dormouse. Cases tend to occur near tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa, where the virus is endemic.Cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from the 1980s to 2010 rose more than 14 timesonly in 2020 Nearly 4,600 suspected cases Monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of Congo.also had Over 550 suspected cases In Nigeria since 2017. Given these numbers and the extent to which the world is interconnected by air travel, the current global outbreak is actually less surprising.

But while cases have been rising, the risk of monkeypox in the general population is low. If you think you have the virus, or have been in contact with someone who is infected, stay calm. You may not need any treatment, but you should do everything you can to avoid spreading the virus further.

How do I know if I have monkeypox?

Monkeypox infection occurs in two distinct stages. Initially, as the virus enters cells, people experience flu-like symptoms such as exhaustion, fever, body aches, chills and headaches, followed by swollen lymph nodes as the immune system speeds up to fight the infection.

The second stage is the development of “pox” – an annoying rash that usually starts on the face and spreads to the arms, legs, hands, feet and trunk. Some patients with recent outbreaks have reported rashes around the genitals.

Doctors warn that you shouldn’t assume you have monkeypox just because you have a rash. This can also happen in diseases like chickenpox and scabies, while a genital rash can also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection like herpes. The monkeypox rash is very noticeable – the rash starts out flat and red, then starts to blister and fill with white pus. These then dry into scabs that eventually heal and fall off. Although unpleasant, the disease is usually not severe and resolves within two to four weeks.

How does someone catch it?

Monkeypox usually affects people who have been in contact with infected animals — usually rodents that can carry the virus. People contract the virus through bites or scratches, or in some cases, by eating undercooked meat.

Despite the recent increase in cases, it is uncommon for people to contract and spread the virus. Requires prolonged close contact Let someone give it to someone else. Specifically, monkeypox can be spread in three known ways – by direct contact with pus in the sore, by handling an infected person’s clothing (or possibly by sharing a towel), or by inhaling respiratory droplets. In the current outbreak, sexual contact appears to provide a route of transmission — likely through skin-to-skin contact.

Infection rates are much lower than Covid-19 or many common respiratory viruses, so outbreaks tend to end quickly.An example of this was in 2003, monkeypox arrived in the United States after infected animals were shipped from Ghana to Illinois. The virus spread to prairie dogs sold as pets in several Midwestern states, infecting 47 people. But no one passed it on to anyone else, and the outbreak ended soon after it started.

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