Monkeypox has spread to 17 nations, with 110 confirmed cases and 205 suspected cases at the time of writing. Because this is a fast-paced story, here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Monkeypox is spread through respiratory droplets and close touch. Sexual transmission (through sperm and/or vaginal fluid) has also been suggested as a possible method.
The virus has spread to youngish men in the current outbreak, but it may affect anyone.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Fever, headaches, aching muscles, and swollen lymph nodes are common early signs.
After the fever has broken, a rash might appear, usually starting on the face and spreading to other areas of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
How deadly is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a mild, self-limiting disease that usually lasts two to three weeks. It can, however, be fatal in some situations. According to the WHO, the fatality rate has been between 3% and 6% “in recent times.” The monkeypox virus in West Africa is thought to be milder than the one in Central Africa.
People who are immunocompromised, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, and children are more vulnerable to monkeypox. There have been no deaths from monkeypox in the current worldwide outbreak, but, according to the Daily Telegraph, one toddler in the UK is in intensive care with the disease.
Why is it called monkeypox?
Monkeypox was first discovered in Danish laboratory monkeys (macaques) in 1958, thus the name. However, monkeys do not appear to be the virus’s natural hosts. Rats, mice, and squirrels are the most common hosts. The first human case was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1970s.
Is monkeypox related to smallpox and chickenpox?
Monkeypox is related to smallpox since both viruses are orthopoxviruses, however it is not the same as chickenpox. Chickenpox is a herpes virus, not a poxvirus, despite its name. (It’s unclear how “chicken” ended up in the name.) Samuel Johnson speculated in his 1755 lexicon that it is thus named because it poses “no very great danger.”
Will the number of cases continue to rise?
The number of cases is expected to climb dramatically over the next two to three weeks, but this is not the start of another epidemic. Monkeypox is not nearly as contagious as the COVID-19-causing airborne virus SARS-CoV-2.
Is monkeypox becoming more virulent?
Because RNA viruses, like SARS-CoV-2, lack the ability to check their genetic code for errors each time they duplicate, they evolve more quickly. Monkeypox is a DNA virus that has the ability to check for genetic faults each time it replicates, so it mutates much more slowly.
Is there a vaccine for it?
Smallpox vaccines that contain the lab-made vaccinia virus can also protect against monkeypox. However, the vaccination used to eradicate smallpox has serious adverse effects, killing one out of every million individuals who receive it.
Bavarian Nordic manufactures Imvanex, the only vaccine specifically authorized for monkeypox. It makes use of a non-replicating strain of vaccinia that has less negative effects, but only for people aged 18 and over.
Are there drugs to treat it?
Monkeypox does not have a specific treatment. Antivirals like cidofovir and brincidofovir, on the other hand, have been shown to be effective against poxviruses in animals and may also be useful against human monkeypox infections.