Monkeypox, a rare virus similar to human smallpox, was first detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1970s, and cases have increased in West Africa over the past decade.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache and rash, which begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
Rodents are the main reservoir of the virus, but humans can catch monkeypox through close contact with infected people. The infection is usually mild and most people recover within a few weeks.
The spread outside Africa
According to the World Health Organization website, in the fall of 2003, confirmed cases of monkeypox were reported in the western-central region of the United States of America. .
In 2005, an outbreak of monkeypox occurred in Unity State, Sudan, and sporadic cases were reported in other parts of Africa. In 2009, an awareness campaign among refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Republic of the Congo identified and confirmed two cases of monkeypox.
Infection occurs due to direct contact with the blood, body fluids, skin lesions, or mucous fluids of infected animals.
In Africa, cases of infection caused by handling infected monkeys, giant gambian rats or squirrels have been reported.
It is possible that eating undercooked meat from infected animals is a risk factor associated with developing chickenpox.
It can also result from transmission of the disease at the secondary level, or from one person to another through secretions or contact.
The disease is transmitted primarily by respiratory particles in the form of droplets that usually require long periods of face-to-face contact, exposing family members of active cases to a significant risk of infection.
It is also possible to transmit the disease through sexual relations or through the placenta (congenital monkeypox).
Symptoms of monkeypox
The incubation period for monkeypox (the period between infection and the onset of symptoms) ranges from 6 to 16 days, but may also range from 5 to 21 days.
The researchers refer to dividing the stage of monkeypox infection into two periods, according to the World Health Organization website.
The first period is the invasion period (0 days and 5 days), and its signs include fever, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, back and muscle pain, and severe weakness (loss of energy).
In the second stage, the rash appears (within a period ranging between 1 and 3 days after the fever), and the various stages of the appearance of the rash crystallize, which begins on the face most often and then spreads to other parts of the body.
The rash is most severe on the face (95 percent of cases), and on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75 percent).
In about 10 days, the rash develops into fluid-filled vesicles and pustules that may take weeks to disappear completely.
Medicine relies on methods for diagnosing other diseases that cause rashes, such as chicken pox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and types of drug allergies.
Lymph node enlargement during the onset of the disease can be a clinical feature that distinguishes it from smallpox, while monkeypox can only be diagnosed with certainty in laboratories.
treatment and vaccine
Currently, there are no specific drugs or vaccines available to combat monkeypox infection, but the resultant can be controlled, and the smallpox vaccination has previously been shown to be 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.
However, this vaccine is no longer available to the general public after vaccination with it was discontinued following the eradication of smallpox from the world.
However, prior vaccination against smallpox is likely to lead to a milder course of the disease.