What Is Monkeypox Virus? Causes And Symptoms
What is the monkeypox virus?
The monkeypox virus is a rare viral infection that causes a severe illness in humans. The virus is related to the smallpox virus, and both viruses belong to the poxvirus family. Monkeypox was first identified in laboratory monkeys in 1958, and the first human case was reported in 1970 in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Since then, there have been sporadic outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa. The most recent outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2017, with more than 100 cases reported. The majority of people who contract monkeypox will recover within a few weeks, but the virus can be deadly in some cases. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but treatments are available to relieve symptoms and improve the chances of recovery.
Monkeypox is spread through contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, such as a monkey, rat, or squirrel. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person, such as through coughing or touching an infected sore. In Africa, monkeypox is primarily a disease of rural villages, where people live in close contact with animals. However, the risk of infection for people living in urban areas is low.
How are people infected with the monkeypox virus?
The monkeypox virus is primarily spread through contact with the infected animal, usually a monkey, ape, or rodent. The virus can also be spread through close contact with an infected person, such as through coughing or sneezing. In some cases, people have been infected after coming into contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus, such as bedding or clothing.
Symptoms of a monkeypox virus
The first symptoms of a monkeypox virus are usually fever, headache, muscle aches, and a general feeling of illness. This is followed by the development of a rash, which starts as small bumps that turn into fluid-filled blisters. The rash typically starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. In severe cases, the monkeypox virus can lead to serious health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and death. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but early diagnosis and supportive care can improve the chances of recovery.
Treatment options for a monkeypox virus infection
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox virus infection. However, there are some measures that can be taken to help relieve symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing complications.
Patients should get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to help with fever and body aches. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also be helpful in managing these symptoms. It is important to avoid aspirin, as it has been linked to an increased risk of bleeding in monkeypox patients.
For patients with a more severe case of monkeypox, hospitalization may be necessary. In the hospital, patients will be closely monitored and treated for any complications that arise. Treatment for complications may include antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections and oxygen therapy for pneumonia.
There is currently no vaccine available for monkeypox. However, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing monkeypox in people who have been exposed to the virus. The smallpox vaccine is not available commercially, but it can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).