Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease that can infect humans and non-human primates.
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus family, which also includes the variola virus that causes smallpox. While monkeypox is less severe than smallpox, it can still cause serious illness in humans, particularly those with weakened immune systems.
In this article, we'll explore how monkeypox can harm humans, including its symptoms, transmission, and treatment options.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans. The virus is endemic in certain parts of Central and West Africa, particularly in remote rainforest areas where there is close contact between humans and wild animals such as rodents, monkeys, and other primates.
Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox can also occur through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, or lesions. The virus can also spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
The symptoms of monkeypox usually appear within 5-21 days of infection and can last for up to 4 weeks. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, and back pain, which can be mistaken for other viral illnesses such as influenza.
As the disease progresses, patients may develop a rash that starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. The rash progresses to fluid-filled blisters that eventually crust over and form scabs. Other symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but supportive care can help manage the symptoms and prevent complications. This may include hydration, pain relief, and treatment of secondary infections.
Antiviral medications, such as cidofovir and vaccinia immune globulin, have shown some efficacy in treating monkeypox in laboratory studies, but their effectiveness in humans is not well established.
Prevention is key to reducing the risk of monkeypox infection. Vaccination with the smallpox vaccine, which provides cross-protection against monkeypox, is the most effective way to prevent infection.
While monkeypox is a rare disease, it can cause serious illness in humans and is potentially fatal in immunocompromised individuals. Understanding the symptoms and transmission of the virus is important for prevention and treatment.
For more information on monkeypox, including current case and death counts by country and US state, visit the Monkeypox Tracker. You can also find helpful resources and information on prevention, transmission, and treatment at the Monkeypox Tracker Blog. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates on monkeypox.