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Causes, Symptoms & Prevention-Healthians Blog

Contributed by: Anjali Sharma

Introduction

Did you know the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that there are now over 16,000 cases of monkeypox worldwide, with 80 per cent of those cases occurring in Europe?

India was the tenth country to report a monkeypox case in Asia and the first in South Asia.

Currently, India has reported ten confirmed cases of monkeypox, three of them in Kerala and five in Delhi, and eight suspected cases, one case each in Delhi and Telangana, two in Bihar and four in Uttar Pradesh.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the spread of the monkeypox virus. It causes flu-like symptoms and a rash. It is a member of the orthopoxvirus family, including the more well-known smallpox virus.

Two outbreaks of a condition resembling pox occurring in groups of monkeys being used for research led to the discovery of monkeypox in 1958.

The origin of the illness is still a mystery despite being called ‘monkeypox.’ However, the virus can infect humans through rodents from Africa and non-human primates (such as monkeys).

It was first discovered in a person in 1970. Its cases have been documented in several central and western African nations before the 2022 pandemic.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

  1. Fever
  2. Headache
  3. Back pain and muscle pains
  4. Swollen lymph nodes; this swelling can be seen in a number of places, including the armpit and neck.
  5. Chills
  6. Exhaustion and weakness
  7. Respiration issues (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

A rash that can resemble pimples or blisters can form on the face, the inside of the mouth, the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or the anus.

Initially appearing as discoloured patches of skin, its rashes develop into raised bumps, blisters, and large, pus-filled pimples that finally scab over and fall off.

According to the WHO, in severe circumstances, many skin rashes might combine to produce one massive lesion that causes a significant area of skin to be shed all at once.

Diagnosis of monkeypox

Due to the rarity of monkeypox, your health care professional can initially identify measles or chickenpox as the origin of your outbreak. However, enlarged lymph nodes often set monkeypox apart from other poxes.

Your healthcare professional collects tissue from an open sore from diagnosing monkeypox (lesion). After that, a lab performs polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on it (genetic fingerprinting). Additionally, a blood sample can be required to screen for the monkeypox virus or antibodies your immune system produces against it.

How does monkeypox spread

When you come in contact with an animal or a person who is infected with the virus, you can develop monkeypox. Animals can transmit diseases to people by biting or scratching people, or by coming into direct touch with their blood, body fluids, or lesions from an affected animal (sores).

Although less frequent, it can transmit from person to person. When you come into touch with the sores, scabs, respiratory droplets, or oral secretions of an infected individual, person-to-person spread (also known as transmission) happens. This typically happens through close, personal circumstances like hugging, kissing, or intercourse. Although a study is underway, it is unclear if the virus is spread by semen or vaginal secretions.

Additionally, exposure to contaminated items including clothing, bedding, and other linens used by animals can cause monkeypox.

How you can prevent monkeypox

You can take the following mentioned steps to prevent monkeypox:

  • Stay away from diseased animals (especially sick or dead animals).
  • Avoid coming in contact with contaminated bedding and other things
  • Cook all items containing meat or other animal products completely
  • Wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis.
  • Keep your distance from anyone who could be carrying the virus.
  • When among other people, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected
  • When providing medical care to those who have the virus, put on personal protective equipment (PPE)

Final thoughts

Monkeypox outbreak is rising every passing day and it is important to know the causes and symptoms of it. Here we have overviewed the origin, symptoms, how monkeypox is spreading and what are the preventive measures of it.

As per WHO (World Health Organization), monkeypox has now been declared a global health emergency because of its increasing number of cases in 75 countries so far.
It is still rare, but its outbreak is a wake-up call for people around the world to take safety and preventive measures in reducing the possibility of getting infected. So instead of turning a blind eye to this virus you should follow the above-mentioned preventive measures and prevent from spreading.

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