Worried about the monkeypox virus spread? Here’s all you need to know

Published on: 20 May 2022, 15:26 pm IST
Monkeypox virus causes a rare disease called monkeypox and the first symptoms appear between five to 21 days of infection.
Gurpreet Kaur
Monkeypox a virus transmitted to humans from animals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Most of us are still battling the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and yet another virus infection has hit the globe. A rare disease, which is caused by the monkeypox virus infection, has been found and it is now spreading across Europe, including Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Latest cases of infection have also been reported in France and Australia.

Although the monkeypox virus is prevalent in remote parts of Central and West Africa, other regions report it after people travel to the infected areas. Health agencies are now worried about its spread through the community and a new route of transmission.

Covid-19 is not the only virus in the air. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What exactly is monkeypox?

The disease of monkeypox was first discovered in the year 1958 in a group of monkeys, and that’s why it is named so. Since its identification, there have been sporadic outbreaks of monkeypox in 11 African countries since 1970. It is from the same family of viruses as smallpox. However, the disease is less severe as compared to it.

Monkeypox has two strains so far, the west African, with a mortality rate of 1 percent, and the other is central African with a mortality rate of 10 percen.

Also, read: Tomato flu to Nipah virus: Infections in the air

How does it spread?

If you come in close contact with an infected person, there is a high chance of you getting the monkeypox disease. The virus can enter the body through the broken skin, or the respiratory tract apart from the eyes, nose or mouth. Recent reports suggest that it can be passed on by direct contact during sex too. In fact, even if you come in contact with infected animals such as monkeys, rats and squirrels, you can be infected with the monkeypox disease.

Check the severity of your fever to get further diagnosis. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, body and muscle ache, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion. If infected, you might see the first symptoms between five to 21 days and a rash might appear one to five days after experiencing these symptoms. Do not confuse the rash with chickenpox, because it starts as raised spots but then soon turns into scabs filled with fluid.

How dangerous is monkeypox disease?

Most cases of the virus are not severe, sometimes resembling chickenpox, but the scabs will clear up within two to four weeks and fall off. In only some severe cases, it has caused reported deaths in West Africa. The mortality of monkeypox is one in ten patients, especially younger patients, according to the World Health Organization. However, mild patients recover completely within a few weeks.

Is there a treatment?

There’s currently no treatment available for monkeypox. So make sure the infection doesn’t spread further, and be isolated until general symptoms wade off.

Gurpreet Kaur

A lifestyle journalist with a perennial hunger for all nice things in life - from fashion to food and different cultures. When she is not writing in her favourite coffee spot, she spends her time socializing with people or exploring different cities.

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