Everything About Monkeypox That You Should Be Aware Of

August 22, 2022

Dr. N G Kanchan
Consultant – Internal Medicine
MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine)

Everything About Monkeypox That You Should Be Aware Of

The recent global outbreak of monkeypox has wreaked havoc worldwide. The viral infection has spread to several countries infecting many people. On 6th May 2022, the first case of this viral disease was detected this year in an individual having travel links to Nigeria. And, initial cluster cases were detected in the UK. As the viral ailment has infected individuals around the globe this year, WHO calls it a disease of global public health importance. So, you might be wondering what monkeypox is and what its causes, symptoms, transmission, treatment and care tips are, aren’t you? Read on to find out all about it.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis, a viral disease which happens to be transmitted from animals to humans. Monkeypox virus is a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. Rodents and non-human primates are the hosts of the infectious virus. It presents with symptoms that are identical to those observed in the past in smallpox patients. Clinically, monkeypox is less severe and less contagious than smallpox. Monkeypox is a self-limited disease, and its symptoms last from 2 to 4 weeks, although severe cases might occur. Of late, 3-6% is the case fatality ratio.

How Does Monkeypox Spread?

It is primarily zoonotic and also spreads through the infected individuals in certain ways. Let’s have a look at it.

A.   Animal-to-Human Transmission: It can spread by coming in direct contact with the blood, mucosal or cutaneous lesions, and bodily fluids of the infected animals. Some of these animals in Africa include rope squirrels, dormice, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, various species of monkeys, and more. The consumption of inadequately cooked meat and other animal-based products of infected animals is one of the potential risk factors. Individuals residing near the forested areas might have low-level or indirect exposure to the infected animals. So, they might be vulnerable to viral disease. 

B.    Humanto-Human Transmission: Monkeypox can spread from the infected humans to other people through:

·      Close contact with the respiratory secretions, droplets, and skin lesions of the infected individual.

·      Close contact with the recently contaminated objects used by the infected person.

·      Prolonged face-to-face contact: This puts family members, healthcare workers, and other contacts who happen to come in near the infected individuals at risk.

·      Pregnant woman to the fetus: This is because the viral infection can transmit through the placenta from the expecting mother to the fetus, thereby resulting in congenital monkeypox. Also, it may transmit during close contact during or post the birth of the baby.

Symptoms of Monkeypox:

Usually, the incubation period of monkeypox infection is 6 to 13 days, however, it may extend from 5 to 21 days too. Symptoms can be observed in two periods, namely the invasion period and later the period of more prominent symptoms such as skin eruptions. 

(i) Symptoms in the Invasion Period: 

·       Intense headache

·       Back pain

·       Fever

·       The swelling of the lymph nodes

·       Myalgia

·       Intense asthenia (lack of energy)

This phase lasts from 0-5 days.

(ii) Symptoms of More Prominent Signs:

·       Skin eruption: It develops in one to three days after one suffers from a fever.

·       The rash happens to be more prominent on the face and extremities of the infected individual than on his trunk.

·       The rash may also develop on the oral mucous membranes, conjunctivae, cornea and genitalia.

·       The rash develops from flat base lesions to slightly raised firm lesions, skin lesions full of clear fluid, skin lesions filled with yellowish fluid, and, lastly, crusts that dry up and fall.

·       The lesions range from a few to several thousand.

The complication of this viral infection includes sepsis, secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, and infection of the cornea that may lead to a loss of vision.

Treatment for Monkeypox:

Clinical care involves alleviating the discomforting symptoms of monkeypox, managing the possible complications, and preventing chronic sequelae. If you happen to suffer from this viral infection, have plenty of healthy fluids and foods. This aids in maintaining sufficient nutritional status. Secondary bacterial infections can be treated. According to WHO, an antiviral agent developed for treating patients with smallpox is also licensed for treating patients with monkeypox by European Medicines Agency in 2022.  It is called tecovirimat. However, it is not widely available.

Vaccination for Monkeypox:

The vaccine used for smallpox eradication is found to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. Although the original smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public, a newer vaccine based on the modified attenuated vaccinia virus is approved in 2019 for preventing monkeypox.

Care to Exercise to Recover from Monkeypox:

If you think you are infected with monkeypox, self-isolate yourself and get in touch with a healthcare professional immediately. 

If the doctor has advised you to stay isolated at home, keep in touch with your physician to seek immediate medical assistance if your rash turns more painful, you develop fever, redness, or pus, or you happen to suffer from nausea and vomiting. You will also need medical attention if you are unable to eat or drink, feel dizzy or confused, or experience breathing difficulties.

Easy Health Care Tips When Battling Monkeypox:

While you are down with this viral infection, make sure that you:

·       Eat well

·       Stay hydrated

·       Get enough sleep. 

·       For alleviating the pain and fever, you can use the doctor’s prescribed medicines.

Proper Care Tips for Managing the Rash of Monkeypox:

·       Do not scratch your rash.

·       Wash and clean your hands before and after touching your lesions of monkeypox.

·       You can clean your rash with antiseptic or sterilized water.

·       Keep your rash dry and uncovered

·       If you have developed lesions in the mouth, you may rinse them with salt water.

·       Take warm baths with Epsom salt or baking soda

·       If needed, you can mitigate the discomfort of the lesions by using paracetamol.

Care for Your Psychological Health When Dealing with Monkeypox:

When isolated and down with monkeypox, here are a few practices that you can do to care for your mental well-being.

·       Engage in things or hobbies, such as reading, that you find enjoyable and relaxing.

·       Stay connected with family and friends online.

·       Do mild exercises if you find yourself well enough to perform them.

·       Ask for support if needed.

Care Tips to Follow to Prevent Spread When in Home Isolation:

If you are isolated at home, here are some helpful tips to prevent the spread of monkeypox to your family members and neighbours.

·       Isolate yourself in a separate room.

·       Use a separate bathroom and clean or disinfect it after you use it every time.

·       Wash your hands frequently by using an alcohol-based sanitiser or soap.

·       Disinfect all frequently touched surfaces with a household disinfectant or soap and water.

·       Avoid vacuuming and sweeping.

·       Use separate plates, cups, spoons, and other belongings.

·       Open the windows

·       Do your laundry yourself using good soap and water. Put all your clothes in a plastic bag before carrying them to the washing machine.

·       If you can’t avoid being in the same room, cover your rash with a bandage, prefer wearing a mask, avoid touching your family members, and clean your hands often.

So, if you are suffering from monkeypox and feel the need for medical assistance, reach out to us at https://specialisthospital.in/ or call for emergency on +91 81 510 62 222. Our certified, expert doctors, and healthcare professionals will rush to attend and treat you to recover from the viral infection smoothly. Stay safe, avoid the spread of monkeypox, and recover soon if you happen to be infected with our excellent medical care.






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