Have you come across any headline in the news lately about the monkeypox disease?
Perhaps, you may be guessing if there is any link between the coronavirus and the monkeypox virus.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 15 confirmed cases of this disease in Nigeria, with 59 suspected cases of which most cases are in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Lagos.
This happened within few days after a Nigerian traveler in the United States was hospitalized with the disease.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, revealed the information on Tuesday 20th of July, in Abuja.
But how serious is this disease? and is there a chance that it will lead to another wide-scale outbreak?
Here’s everything you need to know about the viral disease:
Table of Contents
- What is monkeypox?
- What does it look like?
- Where did monkeypox come from?
- How does it spread?
- What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?
- How is it diagnosed?
- Is monkeypox treatable?
- Can it cause any complications?
- Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
- How can it be prevented?
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral infection that is passed down from animals to human beings.
It occurs rarely, particularly in rural areas in Central and West African settlements near tropical rainforests.
What does the disease look like?
Where did the virus come from?
In 1958, two outbreaks of pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research in Denmark, giving rise to the name “monkeypox.”
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first human case of monkeypox was discovered in 1970.
Since then, tiny outbreaks of less than a dozen persons have occurred in a number of African, Western, and Asian countries.
The last time monkeypox cases were documented in Nigeria was in the 1970s, until 2017 which was West Africa’s greatest recorded outbreak to yet.
How does the disease spread?
Viruses are transmitted mostly through animal to animal transmission and human to human transmission.
Animal to human transmission of monkeypox includes:
- Being scratched or bitten by a monkeypox-infected animal
- Exposure to the virus while preparing the infected animal for food
- Eating poorly cooked bushmeat
Human to human transmission of monkeypox includes:
- Inhaling droplets of the virus expelled by someone showing symptoms of the disease
- Touching the eyes, mouth, and nose with hands that have been contaminated with the monkeypox virus.
- People can get the virus on their hands when they come in contact with an infected person’s body fluid such as saliva, blood or urine.
What are the signs and symptoms?
After the monkeypox virus enters the body, it normally takes 6 to 16 days before signs and symptoms will start showing, although it can make happen within 5 to 21 days.
During this time, infected people can still spread the virus.
When it is time for the symptoms to become noticeable, the first 5 days are characterized by fever, swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), back pain, intense headache, muscle ache(myalgia), and lack of energy (severe asthenia).
How is it diagnosed?
Monkeypox symptoms are similar to some clinical conditions such as measles, syphilis, chickenpox, and allergies from certain medications.
As a result, a test must be done to confirm a suspected case.
The most preferred test to diagnose this disease is called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) because it’s sensitive to the virus and accurately detects it.
It is carried out by taking samples from the wounds/rash created by the infection process.
Is monkeypox treatable?
This infection does not have a specific treatment at this time.
Those who are affected are treated as their symptoms appear, and their condition is closely monitored.
Can monkeypox cause any complications?
Yes, it can cause complications such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and bronchopneumonia
(infection of the lungs).
Another complication it may cause is what is called secondary infection.
Secondary infection occurs when an infected person’s immunity becomes too weak to fight diseases that ordinarily would have been prevented if the person was healthy.
1 in 10 children of those infected with this virus usually dies, with the majority of deaths happening in children under the age of ten.
Is there a vaccine for this disease?
A study carried out using the vaccinia vaccine was proven to be 85% efficient in preventing monkeypox and was useful in eradicating smallpox globally decades ago.
As a result, past smallpox vaccination in childhood may result in a milder illness in kids.
The original (first-generation) smallpox vaccines, on the other hand, are no longer available to the general population.
In 2019, a newer vaccinia-based vaccination for the protection of smallpox and monkeypox was licensed, but it is still not readily accessible to the public sector.
How can monkeypox be prevented?
Several steps may be taken to avoid infection with the deadly virus:
- Avoid coming into touch with animals that may be infected with the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
- Avoid touching any things that have come into contact with a sick animal, such as bed sheets.
- Seek medical care when you or a family member falls ill.
- Use a face mask in crowded areas.
- Sanitize or wash hands after coming in contact with animals, raw meat and people.