We have had a lot of health scares in recent times. We had the Ebola scare a few years ago, and now, it’s the Monkeypox disease. In combating deadly diseases, knowledge is key, which is why we are seeking to educate you about the deadly Monkey Pox.
What Is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans closely similar to Smallpox, although less severe.
The first outbreak of Monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 9-year-old boy. Since then, the majority of cases have been reported in rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin and Western Africa.
How Is It Transmitted?
The transmission of the Monkeypox virus from an animal to a human is through contact with infected animals, infected animal blood, faeces, secretions and contaminated fluid materials, while the risk of human to human transmission heightens through contact with infected person’s or body fluids, including blood. In such cases, contamination can be contained when infected persons or animals are quarantined.
What are the Symptoms?
Monkey pox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of Smallpox and Monkeypox is that the latter causes lymph nodes to swell while the former does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for Monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
Within the first three days or more, after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
How is it Diagnosed?
The differential diagnoses that must be considered include other rash illnesses, such as, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies. Monkeypox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by a number of different tests: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), antigen detection tests, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, virus isolation by cell culture.
What is the Treatment?
At this time, there are no specific treatments available for Monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.
So far, vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox, however, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following:
- A smallpox vaccination should be administered within two weeks of exposure to Monkeypox.
- Cidofovir (Vistide), an antiviral drug, is suggested for patients with severe, life-threatening symptoms.
- Vaccinia immune globulin may be used, but the efficacy of use has not been documented.
The state government in affected states in Nigeria have released emergency lines to contact in the event of an outbreak of Monkeypox. For Lagos State, you can call the numbers 0803-717-0614 or 0908-710-6072 if there is any suspected case.
Be sure to spread this information.
Like they say knowledge is power.
Credits: CDC (The Center for Disease Control), WHO, Infectious Disease Health Center (IDH), Vanguard Nigeria.