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Monkeypox

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Image: from Igbo live, http://igbolive.com/panic-as-monkeypox-virus-lands-in-ebonyi/
Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease that is caused by the virus called Monkeypox virus (MPV). It is a viral zoonosis (a viral disease that is transmitted from animals to humans) that was first detected in monkeys in Africa (central and western parts of Africa) in 1958. The monkeypox virus (MPV) was first identified in the year 1958 in The State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys.

The first human monkeypox case was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1970 in a 9 year old boy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since that first incidence in that 9 year old boy, the majority of cases have been reported in the rural areas and tropical rain forest regions of the Congo Basin and western parts of Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Monkeypox virus (MPV) belong to the virus family poxviridea and the genus orthopoxvirus. Monkeypox is a viral disease that produces pox lesions on the face, skin, hands and feet. It is closely related to smallpox but it is not nearly as deadly as smallpox.

Causes
Monkeypox is caused by an orthopoxvirus named monkeypox virus, which can infect both humans and animals. It causes fever and rash which can turn into painful fluid filled blisters on the face, hands, body, genitals and feet. The disease is commonly found in the rural areas and tropical rain forest regions of the central and western parts of Africa. This Monkeypox virus was first discovered in monkeys in 1958 hence the name "monkeypox virus." The monkeypox virus is primarily said to be found among monkeys, rats, squirrels, rabbits, dogs, porcupines, rodents, etc.

The severity of the disease varies from one person to another, being more severe in younger children compared to older people. The incubation period of the monkeypox virus is between 6 - 10 days after exposure. Thereafter, the signs and symptoms or clinical manifestations of the disease begins to appear.

The symptomatic crisis of the monkeypox disease typically last for about 2 to 4 weeks, after which it begins to get resolved.
Some of the monkeypox specific signs and symptoms are;
  • Fever, with a temperature of about 38.5 - 40.5°C,
  • Sweating,
  • Blisters around the body,
  • Lesions all over the body,
  • Headache,
  • Swellon lymph nodes,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Pain in the muscles,
  • Lethargy, etc.


Transmission
The monkeypox disease is basically transmitted through a direct contact with infected animals such as monkeys, rodents, dogs, porcupines, squirrels, rabbits, rats, etc.
The virus could primarily be transmitted or spread through;
  • Animal bites and scratches,
  • The eating of poorly cooked infected animals, etc.
Secondary transmission, that is; human to human transmission is rare, but may occur from close;
  • Contact with infected respiratory tract secretions,
  • Contact with skin lesions of an infected persons,
  • Contact with objects that are recently contaminated,
  • Face to face contact with infected persons, etc.


Prevention
Monkeypox disease can be prevented by;
  • Observing good personal and environmental hygiene such as keeping surroundings clean and eliminating household rats,
  • Washing of hands with soap and water regularly,
  • Avoid touching unscreened animals known to carry the virus in the wild,
  • Avoid eating poorly cooked bush meat and blood meal,
  • Avoid touching persons suspected to be infected,
  • Isolate all infected persons,
  • Persons caring for infected persons should use gloves and face mask properly,
  • Vaccinate infected persons with smallpox vaccines (which provides about 85% protection against monkeypox),
  • Caregivers should obtain smallpox vaccines,
  • Universal regulations in hospital settings should be observed,
  • Health workers should use personal protective equipments (PPEs),
  • Educating the population by raising awareness concerning the risk factors of monkeypox,
  • Any animal that may have come in contact with infected animals should be isolated and quarantine and observed for monkeypox symptoms for a period of 30 days (WHO),
  • surverllance measure and rapid identification of new cases is critical to prevent outbreak, etc.


Treatment
Currently, there are no cures, treatments or vaccines that are available for monkeypox disease. However, outbreaks can be contained by identifying, isolating and quarantining new cases or incidences.

Smallpox vaccine should be administered within two weeks of exposure to monkeypox virus, this smallpox vaccine have about 85% potency in protecting against monkeypox disease.

Some other measures includes;
  • Cidofovir, an antiviral drug is recommended for patients with life threatening symptoms,
  • Isolation,
  • Patient supportive care,
  • Bedrest,
  • IV fluid transfusion,
  • Analgesics,
  • Antipyretics, etc.
Normally, resolution should occur within 2 - 4 weeks of infection.

Your health
An infectious disease such as monkeypox have a significantly high negative effect on a patient's health. During the crisis, he/ she will feel feverish with a temperature of about 38.5 - 40.5°C or more. The patient will feel extremely lethargic, nauseated and experiences muscles and back pain. During which period, the normal lifestyle routines will be on hold.

Even after the symptoms or disease have been resolved, the scars and spot or blemishes that are left behind by the legions, pustules, papules and blisters on the patient's face, body, hands, feet and genitals may bring shame, low self-esteem and sometimes inferiority complex about his/ her body. This lack of self confidence may impede work out put and reduces productivity.

See a Doctor
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus called Monkeypox virus (MPV). This disease is similar to smallpox though much milder and vary in severity from person to person. Are you experiencing any or some of the Signs and symptoms of monkeypox stated above?, then it is time to see your doctor. Are you having back or muscle pain? Feeling tired and/ or lethargic? Are you having rashes and/ with blisters? Are you having headache, and/ or fever with temperature of about 38.5 - 40.5°C? Are you having lesions, pustules, or papules? Are you having cough and experiencing shortness of breath? having any sores with pus around your face, hands, body, feet, or genitals? Are you experiencing skin eruption? are you feeling malaise, intense sweating, nausea and irritation all over your body? or are feeling this general body weakness for reasons you can not possibly explain? Are you having enlarged lymph nodes? Make an appointment with your doctor get yourself checked, tested and treated. It is time to get well and enjoy a happy and healthy lifestyle 


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