01/5Number of cases are increasing
Monkeypox cases have been reported around the world in recent weeks. More than 80 cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed in at least 12 countries. The World Health Organization has said another 50 suspected cases are being investigated and more cases are likely to be reported.
Infections have been confirmed in nine European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia. The disease is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa. It is a rare viral infection which is usually mild and from which most people recover in a few weeks, according to the UK’s National Health Service. But, where exactly does the disease get its name from?
02/5Reason behind the name ‘Monkeypox’
Scientists came up with the name Monkeypox in 1958 after it was first detected in laboratory monkeys. The first human case of Monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then Monkeypox has been reported in humans from other central and western African countries.
03/5Is there any vaccination?
As Monkeypox and smallpox share similarities, a smallpox jab offers some good protection against Monkeypox. According to studies, the Imvanex smallpox vaccine is about 85 percent effective in preventing Monkeypox. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
According to WHO, newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for prevention of Monkeypox. An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of Monkeypox.
It is not yet clear why this unusual outbreak is happening now. Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans and is instead thought to transmit from wild animals such as rodents to people. But some of the ways it can be transmitted between humans include touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the Monkeypox rash. Touching Monkeypox skin blisters or scabs can also transmit the disease. The virus can also spread through the coughs or sneezes of a person with the Monkeypox rash.
Dr. Susan Hopkins from the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) said “a notable proportion” of the recent cases in the UK and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men “so we are particularly encouraging them to be alert to the symptoms and seek help if concerned”. But individuals who come into close contact with someone who has Monkeypox could potentially get the virus.
05/5Signs and symptoms
According to WHO, the incubation period of Monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The skin eruption usually begins within 1-3 days of the appearance of fever. The rash tends to be more concentrated on the face and extremities rather than on the trunk. It can affect the face, and palms of the hands, soles of the feet, oral mucous membranes, genitalia as well as the cornea. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks.