What is monkeypox and its signs and symptoms?


Monkeypox is mainly found in West and Central Africa, but additional cases have been seen in Europe, including the UK, and other parts of the world in recent years. These cases are usually linked to international travel or imported animals infected with smallpox, the CDC said.

On Thursday, Spain confirmed seven cases of monkeypox in Madrid and is investigating 22 others; Italy has confirmed its first case; and Canadian public health officials announced they were investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox in Montreal.

Several cases of monkeypox in the UK in people with no known travel or contact with other people with the virus have health officials there and at the CDC involved, but there is no cause for alarm, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Right now we don’t want people to worry,” Murthy said. “Those numbers are still low; we want them to be aware of (the) symptoms and if they have any concerns they should contact their doctor.”

What are the first symptoms of monkeypox?

There is an incubation period of about seven to 14 days, the CDC said. The first symptoms are usually flu-like, such as fever, chills, exhaustion, headache and muscle weakness, followed by swollen lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and disease.

“One feature that distinguishes monkeypox infection from that of smallpox is the development of swollen lymph nodes,” the CDC said.

This is followed by a generalized rash on the face and body, including inside the mouth and on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Sore, raised poxes are pearly and fluid-filled, often surrounded by red circles. The lesions eventually crust over and disappear over a period of two to three weeks, the CDC said.

“Treatment is generally supportive as there are no specific drugs available. However, a vaccine is available that can be given to prevent the disease from developing,” said Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. in a report.

How is monkeypox spread?

Close contact with an infected person is necessary for the spread of the monkeypox virus, experts say.

The infection can develop after exposure to “broken skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected bodily fluids, or even contact with contaminated laundry,” said Neil Mabbott, personal chair in immunopathology. at the University of Edinburgh Veterinary School in Scotland, in a statement. .

“As the lesions have healed, the scabs (which may carry infectious virus) may come off as dust, which can be inhaled,” said Dr Michael Skinner, who is on the faculty of medicine in the Department of Imperial College Infectious Diseases. London, in a press release.

Transmission between people occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets, and since these droplets typically travel only a few feet, “prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” the CDC said.

“Monkeypox can be a serious infection, with mortality rates for this type of monkeypox virus having been around 1% in other outbreaks. These often occur in low-income settings with limited access to healthcare,” said Michael Head, senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton in the UK.

However, in the developed world, “it would be very unusual to see anything other than a handful of cases in an outbreak, and we won’t see (Covid)-like levels of transmission,” Head said in a statement.

According to the CDC, common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.

Where does monkeypox come from?

Monkeypox got its name in 1958 when “two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research,” the CDC said.

However, the main vector of monkeypox disease is still unknown, although “African rodents are suspected to play a role in transmission”, the agency said.

The first known case of monkeypox in humans was “recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified efforts to eliminate smallpox,” the CDC said.

After 40 years without reported cases, monkeypox reemerged in Nigeria in 2017, the CDC said. Since then, there have been more than 450 cases reported in Nigeria and at least eight known cases exported internationally, the agency said.

An outbreak occurred in the United States in 2003 after forty-seven people in six states – Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – fell ill from contact with their prairie dogs, the CDC said.

“The pets were infected after being housed near small mammals imported from Ghana,” the CDC said. “This was the first time that human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa.”

CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Paula Newton, John Bonifield, Naomi Thomas, Alex Hardie and Benjamin Brown contributed to this report.


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