- 1 July 2022
- Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Category: Uncategorised
An Overview of the Monkeypox Outbreak in 2022
Monkeypox is a rare infection found primarily in parts of west or central Africa. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus. This is the same family of viruses as cowpox and smallpox. One of the symptoms of Monkeypox is a rash that is similar to that of smallpox.
Monkeypox was first detected in humans in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Historically, most cases have been reported in endemic areas, but in early May 2022 cases were reported in the UK, Spain and elsewhere in Europe. As of June 17, the total number of confirmed cases in the UK was 574, making it the largest outbreak outside of Africa. Monkeypox is a disease transmitted from animals to humans. Symptoms are similar (though less severe) to smallpox patients. One difference between the two is that monkeypox causes lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) while smallpox does not
Monkeypox begins with fever, exhaustion, headaches and muscle pain. The incubation period for Monkeypox ranges from 5 to 21 days.
The illness begins with the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within a few days of the fever, the patient develops a rash that spreads through the body. This rash develops on the face, extremities, and palms. They can also occur on other parts of the body. The rash varies in number, size, and stage of development. They progress through several stages before scabbing over.
The illness typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
Transmission of the virus occurs when one person has come into contact with another person’s body fluids, respiratory droplets, or contaminated material such as clothing or utensils. Anyone can get Monkeypox especially if you have been exposed to an individual with symptoms.
Monkeypox is usually mild however the illness could be severe in certain individuals such as children, those who are immunocompromised or pregnant women.
Vaccine Effectiveness Against Monkeypox
Because the virus that causes Monkeypox is so closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can provide some effectiveness in protecting people. Past data gathered from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox.
The vaccines can prevent Monkeypox if given before exposure. However experts also believe that vaccination after exposure could help prevent or mitigate the disease.
When Should You Receive the Vaccine?
The sooner an exposed person takes the vaccine, the better. It is recommended that the vaccine be administered within 4 days of exposure. If given between 4 and 14 days after exposure, symptoms may be milder, but this does not help prevent the disease.
Risks of Monkeypox vs Risks of Monkeypox/Smallpox Vaccine
For most patients, the risks from the disease are greater than the risks from the vaccine. While Monkeypox causes fatigue, skin rash, muscle pain and fever, the vaccine causes only mild reactions such as redness and itching at the site of vaccination, swollen glands and low-grade fever.
Frequently Asked Questions About Monkeypox
- When is a person infected with monkeypox no longer contagious?
- An infected person is contagious from the onset of the rash to the scab stage. Once all the scabs fall off, a person is no longer contagious.
2. How is Monkeypox diagnosed?
- The rash is the most obvious sign however healthcare workers need to consider any possible exposure to the Monkeypox virus. Other diseases such as chickenpox also cause similar rashes and are much more common.
3. How is Monkeypox treated?
- In most cases, no special treatment is required as the disease will go away on its own. While there is currently no treatment specifically approved for monkeypox, antiviral drugs developed for use in smallpox could be beneficial. For example, Tecovirimat, an antiviral drug approved for the treatment of human smallpox in adults and pediatric patients. According to laboratory tests, Tecovirimat has been shown to stop the growth of the smallpox virus and is effective in treating animals with diseases similar to Smallpox or Monkeypox
4. How can Monkeypox be prevented?
- In non-endemic countries, people are more likely to be exposed to the Monkeypox virus through contact with someone who is already infected. Residual immunity from smallpox vaccination can contribute to prevention.
5. What are the recommendations for isolated patients?
*Patients isolating for Monkeypox should do the following;
- Avoid close contact with others including pets
- Avoid leaving the house
- Abstain from all sexual activity
- Avoiding sharing items that could be contaminated (such as bedding, clothing, or utensils)
- If possible, use a separate bathroom from others
- Clean and disinfect common surfaces such as light switches
- Isolate in a room or area that is separate from others
For further information on the Monkeypox virus, you can view the below links.
- Investigation Into Monkeypox Outbreak In England: Technical Briefing
- Clinical Features and Management of Human Monkeypox: A Retrospective Observational Study In The UK
- Monkeypox Cases Confirmed in England – Latest Updates
- Monkeypox: Background Information
Article by Shanice Singh