You’ve probably seen reports about Monekypox being detected in Italy and Sweden and cases being investigated in the United States and Canada. But what exactly is it?
Monkeypox is a virus from the same family as smallpox. It was first documented in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s and primarily came from animal-to-human transmission.
In May 2022, cases of Monkeypox have been detected in various parts of Europe and North America, including, the UK, Portugal, Spain, Canada and the United States.
So far, two primary strains of the virus have been identified, the Congo strain – which has a 10% mortality rate, and the milder West African strain, which has a 1% mortality rate. The recent cases in the UK have all been the West African strain.
The virus can be identified by a distinctive bumpy rash and the presence of a fever. The early symptoms include swelling of lymph nodes and general flu-like symptoms, such as headaches and lack of energy.
The incubation period of the disease ranges from five to 21 days and the symptoms usually last between two to four weeks.
While animal-to-human transmission is more common, human-to-human transmission is possible and occurs through contact with bodily fluids, lesions, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials.
The World Health Organization said there appeared to be a link between sexual contact and the spread of the virus.
There is currently no known specific treatment for monkeypox, but the smallpox vaccinia vaccine has been shown to be affective in preventing the virus.
In 2019, a newer version of this vaccine was approved for monkeypox, but it is not widely available according to the WHO.
The spread has likely occurred because of the easing of travel restrictions after COVID and while experts have said it is not likely to cause the same scale of outbreak, it is important to be vigilant and take it seriously so it does not escalate.
“WHO is not just fighting #COVID19: There is an #Ebola outbreak in 🇨🇩, an unknown #hepatitis affecting children around the world and #monkeypox affecting a number of countries. WHO is working with national authorities to respond quickly & effectively to these outbreaks”-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 17, 2022