Health: 6 Things You Must Know About The Monkeypox Disease

Following the present outbreak of the Monkeypox in the South-South Region Of Nigeria (Bayelsa State), a total of 10 persons and a medica...

What is monkeypox disease? What are the symptoms and diagnosis  Where did it originate?  How is it treated? How does it spread? Reducing the risk of infection in people
Following the present outbreak of the Monkeypox in the South-South Region Of Nigeria (Bayelsa State), a total of 10 persons and a medical doctor have so far been affected by the disease and are currently being quarantined in an isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
We have outlined the 6 questions people ask about the deadly disease and as you read along, we hope you benefit fully from it.


- What is monkeypox disease?
- What are the symptoms and diagnosis
- Where did it originate?
- How is it treated?
- How does it spread?
- Reducing the risk of infection in people

What Is Monkeypox Disease?

- It is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans from animals (viral zoonosis) and it has symptoms which are similar (though milder) to the small pox although the small pox was eradicated in 1980. However, the monkeypox disease still occurs sporadically in some parts of Africa.
- It is belongs to the Orthopoxviral genus in the family Poxviridae.
- The virus was first identified during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys in the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958
What Are The Symptoms?

As earlier said, it has symptoms similar but milder than the small pox disease. Just like other viral diseases, its symptoms are not visible immediately it is contacted; it takes an average of 5-21 days to start displaying in the human body.
- One of the major symptoms is the appearance of scratches in the self-lubricating skins. This scratches vary from a few to several thousand, of which, affecting around 70 percent of cases in spoken self-lubricating skins, and 30 percent of cases in the genitalia, while 20 percent of the cases can be seen in the eyelid, with the eyeball not exempted.
- Another symptom is swellings in their lymph nodes. This can be seen in some patients before the appearance of the rash. This symptom also distinguishes the monkeypox when compared to other similar diseases.
- It is usually a self-limited disease and the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days.
Severe cases can also occur more commonly among the younger ones and these are related to the extent of patient’s health status, virus exposure, and severity of complications. People living in or near the forested areas may have indirect or low-level exposure to infected animals, possibly leading to subclinical (asymptomatic) infection.
- The case fatality has varied widely between epidemics but has been less than 10 percent in documented events, mostly among young children. In general, younger age-groups appear to be more prone to monkeypox. 


DiagnosisMonkeypox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by either of the following: Enzyme-Linked Immune Sorbent Assay, Antigen Detection tests, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or Virus Isolation by cell culture.

Where Did It Originate?

- It was first identified in 1970, in a 9-year-old boy from in the Democratic Republic of Congo (in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968) .Since then, many similar cases have been reported in rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin and other Western Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is endemic.
- In 1996-97, a major outbreak was recorded to have occured in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- However, in 2003 the first disease was recorded to have occured in the Midwest of the United States of America, (marking the first reported occurrence of the disease outside of the African continent).And most of the patients had close contact with close contact with pet prairie dogs.
- In 2005, a monkeypox outbreak occurred in Unity, Sudan and sporadic cases have been reported from other parts of Africa. Further, in 2009, an outreach campaign among refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Republic of Congo identified and confirmed two cases of monkeypox. Between August and October 2016, a monkeypox outbreak in the Central African Republic was contained with 26 cases and two deaths.

How is it treated?

- Presently, no specific treatments or vaccines are available for those infected by the monkeypox, however, outbreaks can be controlled. 
- Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but vaccine is no longer available to the public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication.
- Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.

How Does It Spread?

- The primary source of contact is from a monkey, whether through eating inadequately cooked monkey meat or meat of an infected animal.
- The secondary channel of transmission is from human to human, especially through body fluid (although this is not common).
- Another channel of contact is contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Infection

- Avoid having close contact with other patients.
- However, in the absence of specific treatment or vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by creating and increasing awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus.
- Surveillance measures and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment.
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Information Guide Africa: Health: 6 Things You Must Know About The Monkeypox Disease
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