Monkey pox: symptoms and prevention – Health

Monkey in the jungle, close-up photo
‘Monkey pox’ usually heals on its own, with symptoms lasting 14 to 21 days. (photo: Reproduction/Freepik)

Monkeypox, of which more than 200 cases have been detected in Europe and North America, is a rare disease originating in Africa, which usually heals spontaneously.

What is this disease and what are its symptoms?

Monkeypox, or “simian orthopoxvirosis”, is a rare disease whose pathogen can be transmitted from animal to man and vice versa.

When the virus spreads to humans, mainly from various wild animals, rodents or primates.

Transmission from one human being to another is small, explained the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its symptoms are similar, on a smaller scale, to those seen in old smallpox patients: fever, headache, muscle and back pain during the first five days.

Then there are eruptions – on the face, palms and soles of the feet -, lesions, pustules and finally crusts.

Since 1970, human cases of “simian orthopoxvirosis” 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 transmitted?

Infection in early cases is due to direct contact with blood, body fluids, lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of infected animals.

Secondary, person-to-person transmission can result from close contact with infected secretions from the airways, skin lesions from an infected person, or objects recently contaminated with biological fluids or materials from a patient’s lesions.

“It is probably too early to draw conclusions about the mode of transmission or to assume that sexual activity is necessary for transmission,” said Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, Science Center (SMC).

How serious?

‘Monkey pox’ usually heals on its own, with symptoms lasting 14 to 21 days.

Severe cases occur more frequently in children and are related to the extent of exposure to the virus, the patient’s health status and the severity of complications.

Analyzing the epidemics, the mortality rate showed great variation, but remained below 10% in all documented cases, especially in young children.

H treatment?

There are no specific treatments or vaccines against monkeypox, but the attacks can be contained, explains the WHO.

In the past, smallpox vaccination has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing “simian orthopoxvirosis”. But the vaccine is no longer available, after its manufacture was discontinued following the worldwide eradication of the disease.

“The good news is that the smallpox vaccine works against monkeypox; the good news is that most under 45s are not vaccinated,” tweeted epidemiologist Eric Feigl Ding.

cases around the world

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is already registered in at least 16 countries. To date, 250 cases have been reported, the first of which was on 7 May in countries outside West and Central Africa, where the disease is most common. Most patients are in Europe.

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