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Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox

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Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the family of virus called poxviridea and genus orthopoxvirus. Monkeypox was first detected in monkeys in 1958 in The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, and the virus was first isolated and identified in 1958 in Copenhagen. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a 9 year old boy. Ever since, a number of cases have been reported in the rural areas and tropical rain forest settlements within central and western parts of Africa.

The virus is primarily found in monkeys, rodents, dogs, rabbits, porcupines, squirrels, etc.
The monkeypox disease could be  contracted through;
  • Direct contact with infected animals,
  • Animal bites and scratches, Consumption of poorly cooked infected bush meat or blood meal,
  • Direct face to face contact with infected persons,
  • Skin to skin contact of infected persons,
  • Direct contact with respiratory secretions of infected persons, etc.

Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox
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,
  • Malaise,
  • Cough,
  • Nausea,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Headache, 
  • Lethargy,
  • Anorexia,
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes,
  • Rashes all over your body,
  • Lesions, papules, pustules,
  • Muscles pain,
  • Blisters,
  • Back pain,
  • Skin eruption, etc.
Some pox legions may become necrotic and destroy sebaceous glands thereby leaving scars.

The skin and mucous membrane's of pox lesions can ulcerate, crust over and then begins to heal in about 2 - 4 weeks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of the lesions varies from a few to several thousands, affecting oral mucous membranes (in 70% of cases), genitalia (30%), and conjunctivae (eyelid) (20%), as well as the the cornea (eye ball).

Prevention
Monkeypox infection can be prevented by;
  • Observing good personal and environmental hygiene such as keeping surroundings clean and eliminating household rats,
  • Washing of hands 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 at least 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, etc.

See a Doctor
Are you experiencing any or some of the Signs and/ or symptoms for 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 and irritation all over your body or feeling this general body weakness for reasons you can not possibly explain. Make an appointment with your doctor get yourself checked, tested and treated. It is time to get well.

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