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.
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.
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 through respiratory particles that take the form of droplets that usually require long periods of face-to-face contact, which exposes family members from active cases to a high risk of infection with the disease, and it is also possible for the disease to be transmitted through sexual relations or across the placenta.