Monkeypox or “simian orthopoxvirus” is a rare disease whose pathogen can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa.
When the virus spreads to humans, it mainly comes from various wild animals, rodents or primates.
Human-to-human transmission is low, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
Its symptoms resemble, to a lesser extent, those observed in the past in subjects with smallpox and are as follows:
- Muscle and back pain for the first five days
After these symptoms, the following manifestations appear:
- Rashes appear on the face
- Skin rashes appear on the palms of the hands
- Rashes appear on the soles of the feet
- Finally, the crusts
This disease was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), in a 9-year-old boy who lived in an area where smallpox had been eradicated since 1968.
Since 1970, human cases of “simian orthopoxvirus” have been reported in 10 African countries.
In early 2003, cases were also confirmed in the United States, the first outside the African continent.
How is monkeypox spread?
In a recent report, UN News He said that thanks to the WHO, an article with questions and answers about monkeypox has been produced.
The article refers to the fact that there is currently a lot of talk about a disease which is not new, but which we had not heard so much about, in particular because it was endemic in a few countries on the African continent and that oday an epidemic has appeared in several places on the planet.
Read more: The mysterious virus that protects us from monkeypox
How is monkeypox transmitted from animals to humans?
Animals that harbor this virus can include rodents or primates. The risk of contracting such a disease from animals can be reduced by avoiding unprotected contact with wild animals, especially those that are sick or dead (including contact with their flesh and blood).
It is crucial to emphasize that any food containing meat or animal parts must be cooked, especially in countries where monkeypox is endemic.
How is monkeypox transmitted from person to person?
People with the disease are contagious as long as they have symptoms (usually within the first two to four weeks).
You can contract this disease through physical contact with someone who has symptoms. Rashes, bodily fluids (such as fluids, pus, or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are especially contagious.
In addition, contact with objects that have been in contact with the infected person such as clothing, bedding, towels or objects such as kitchen utensils can also represent a source of infection.
Ulcers, lesions or wounds can also be infectious since the virus can be transmitted through saliva. Therefore, there is a high risk of infection if you live with infected people at home or through sexual contact.
People who work in the healthcare sector are also more at risk.
The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus through the placenta or by contact of an infected parent with the child during or after childbirth through skin-to-skin contact.
However, it is unclear whether asymptomatic people can transmit the disease.
Read also: Monkeypox: what is the profile of infected people and how can it evolve as the disease progresses
New monkeypox symptoms among current outbreaks
The current outbreak of monkeypox has significant symptom differences from previous ones in endemic regions, including rectal pain or penile oedema, according to a study of British patients published The British medical journal last July 28.
In the report, the specialists indicated that the current outbreak of monkeypox has significant differences in symptoms from previous recorded ones in endemic regions.
Diagnosis of monkeypox
On July 23, The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international emergency due to the current outbreak of monkeypox, after more than 16,000 cases (including five deaths) reported in 75 countries, many of them in Europe, where the disease was not endemic.
The decision was announced at a press conference by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, two days after an emergency committee made up of experts in the disease met to analyze the possible declaration, which will oblige the national health networks to reinforce your preventive measures.
This committee had chosen not to declare an emergency at a first meeting held in June (when there had been 3,000 chaos), and on that occasion, according to Tedros, there was also no consensus. complete among the experts, but the general manager decided to declare an emergency in view of the high and increasing number of cases in various regions of the planet.
#LAST HOUR WHO activates highest alert level for monkeypox #AFP pic.twitter.com/DcbtvHh75p
– Agence France-Presse (@AFPespanol) July 23, 2022
Since early May, when it was first detected outside of African countries where it is endemic, the disease had affected more than 16,836 people in 75 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) as of July 22.
According to the WHO, to achieve better diagnostics and controls, each country must step up surveillance and public health measures, as well as maintain alerts with a focus on border points.
Specialists recommend paying attention to advantageous periods, that is, people entering each country, especially if they have been to countries where cases have been reported.
Is there a treatment for monkeypox?
According UN News, symptoms often go away on their own without requiring treatment. It is important to treat the rash by letting it dry if possible or covering it with a damp bandage if necessary to protect the area.
Experts also suggest avoiding touching sores in the mouth or eyes and say mouthwashes and eye drops can be used as long as cortisone-containing products are avoided.
For severe cases, vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG), an antiviral that was developed to treat smallpox (tecovirimat, marketed as TPOXX) that was also approved for the treatment of monkeypox in January 2022, may be recommended.
Is there a monkeypox vaccine?
On July 22, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) vaccine approved to control the spread of monkeypox.
“The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended extending the use of the Imvanex vaccine to include the protection of adults against monkeypox,” the European regulator said in a statement.
Read also: Monkeypox: The reason why the WHO reminds that the vaccine takes weeks to immunize (and what we know about the possible renaming of the disease)
In 2013, the EU approved the Imvanex vaccine, from Danish company Bavarian Nordic, to prevent smallpox. Its use is now widespread due to its similarity to the monkeypox virus.