MonkeyPox—A Global Health Emergency

Introduction

Monkeypox is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus. It is a part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, which causes smallpox.

  • Genus: Orthopoxvirus
  • Family: Poxviridae

The symptoms of monkeypox are more similar to smallpox symptoms, it is milder and is rarely fatal but monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic (animal-to-human transmission) disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

Its infection can occur from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals.

Sudden rise in confirmed cases of monkeypox by WHO region from January 2022 to 15 June 2022, data as of 15 June 2022 17:00 CEST

monkeypox cases and trend
Rise in monkeypox cases and trend (Data by W.H.O)

History

In 1958, this virus was revealed in the settlements of monkeys prepared for research and it was found to cause a disease like chickenpox.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries.

Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 11634 confirmed cases have been reported in 75 countries of the world so far. Similarly, 1,500 suspected cases are being monitored.

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World Health Organization declares it an international health emergency, it is considered a big threat to the whole world like the corona epidemic, and special efforts and plans are being prepared for its treatment.

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease. This disease is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus which comes from the orthopoxvirus genus of the family Poxviridae.

The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes the viruses that cause smallpox and cowpox.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of monkeypox in humans are more similar to smallpox. Symptoms of monkeypox begin to appear within 6 to 13 days of infection.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Rashes or blisters on the face, inside the mouth, and on other body parts

Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, then a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-4 weeks.

There is no specific cure for monkeypox infection. According to the World Health Organization, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, itching, and drug allergies are different from monkeypox. Also, there is swelling in the lymph nodes in monkeypox, while this is not the case in smallpox.

In this, the patient may feel severe weakness with fever, severe headache, and pain in the back and muscles. The first thing that is seen is the appearance of big grains in the hands and feet. These rashes can also affect the cornea of ​​the eye if there is a severe infection.

How is monkeypox spread?

Generally, the chances of transmission of monkeypox virus from person to person are low, but sometimes if the virus is present in the droplets coming out of his mouth when the victim coughs, then it can infect another person. In that case, just like Kovid, it can infect others. Along with this, the monkeypox virus spreads to humans due to contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or skin of infected animals.

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Anyone can be infected by coming into contact with an animal or human infected with monkeypox. This virus enters the body through skin wounds, breath, and mouth. It is spread through large respiratory droplets released in the air by the infected person during a sneeze or cough.

Treatments

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox infection. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which is supposed that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

Monkeypox has been seen in African countries. It is reported as an endemic disease in several Central and West African countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone is being done.

However, some cases have also been reported in countries like the US, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Austria, Israel, and Switzerland. Asian countries like India also reported a total of 4 cases by July 2022 of which 3 of them reported from southern states of India and all the 3 patients migrated from UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Vaccines

Till now two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available for preventing monkeypox infection – JYNNEOS (Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000.

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There’s no data yet available on these vaccines’ effectiveness in the current outbreak. For a better understanding of the protective benefits of these vaccines in the current outbreak, CDC is studying the data on any side effects or impairment and effectiveness of the vaccine about how well the vaccine protects the infected person.

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