The world is yet to move on from the coronavirus pandemic and another virus that has raised concerns in the past week, which may turn into another pandemic. The name is Monkeypox. As of May 21, 2022, it has spread to 92 people in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom and the USA. The first monkeypox case was detected in London, the United Kingdom on May 7. Then, patients are also found in Spain, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden.
So what is going to happen? Is the virus originating in Central and West Africa a cause for concern right now? Or is everyone overwhelmed about just going through an epidemic?
We have tried to find answers to these questions in different authentic news and journals. Here is what we need to know about the Monkeypox outbreak.
What is Monkeypox?
There is a lot to know about MonkeyPox now. However, the natural carrier of the virus is wildlife, and rats are more likely than monkeys. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is like regular smallpox but is relatively less severe and does not spread the infection much.
It is caused by the monkeypox virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. Two clades of monkeypox virus are identified, the West African and Congo Basin (Central African) clades. Monkeypox was named after the first discovery of the virus in Denmark in 1958.
Although the virus was first detected in monkeys in 1958, rats are now suspected to be the main contributors to the spread.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
The primary symptoms of this disease are fever, headache, pain in the joints and muscles, and fatigue in the body.
After the onset of fever, smallpox appears in the body. Usually, these poxes appear in the face at the beginning. Later it spreads on hands, feet, and all over the body. The body becomes itchy for this pox. Later wounds appeared from the pox. Like a regular pox, the patient recovers completely, but these scars remain on the body. The patient recovers within 14 to 21 days of the start of the disease.
How Does Monkeypox Virus Spread?
The Monkeypox virus is spread via close contact with an infected person. It also spreads from an infected person's clothes and bed. It enters the human body through inhalation, nose, eyes, mouth, and skin lesions.
According to the experts say the Monkeypox can be transmitted from monkeys, squirrels, rats, or even through the bed bugs used by monkeypox patients. The disease can be spread through sexual contact too. Although this has not been said before, it is now thought that the virus can be transmitted through direct contact during sexual intercourse.
Treatment of Monkeypox
So far, there is no proven treatment for the monkeypox virus. However, according to the World Health Organization, the smallpox vaccine and antiviral drugs can help prevent the symptoms of Monkeypox. As with any virus outbreak, its rate can be prevented by taking appropriate measures.
Since the virus is not fatal, experts say there is little reason to worry about it. The United Kingdom has begun vaccinating small-scale healthcare workers who are most at risk of contracting the virus while serving patients.
How Deadly is Monkeypox?
Congo clade has been seen in different parts of Africa. The death rate in the region is around 10% for the Congo clade. And children are more likely to die. On the other hand, the intensity of Central African Monkeypox is relatively low. The mortality rate of the infected in this species is about 1%.
The actual type of Monkeypox, which has been identified in 12 countries around the world, is not immediately known. However, Central African species have been identified in the UK, according to the health authorities.
Epidemiologists say monkeypox infections are usually "extremely rare." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed concern about the rise in monkeypox infections and warned that the virus could spread to the United Kingdom as well as Portugal and Spain.
Is the Monkeypox Virus Airborne?
Although there is no evidence that Monkeypox is airborne, CDC instructed to take precautions as an airborne disease as it has a theoretical risk of airborne transmission. However, citing a study published in the journal Virological Methods in 2012, Harvard epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said that Monkeypox might be like particles of airborne liquids or solids (aerosols).
So What's Going To Happen?
According to BBC, this outbreak is different, but the actual reason is not known yet. There are two things that can happen: either the virus has changed, or the same old virus has chosen the right place at the right time to become strong. Monkeypox is a DNA virus. So it does not have a quick mutation or mutation like Covid or Flu. Experts see it as a cause of relief.
A recent genetic analysis shows that the current infections are closely related to the structure of the virus in 2018 and 2019. It needs to be confirmed very soon, but so far, there is no evidence of a new strain or mutation in the virus. There is no need to transform the virus to take advantage of an opportunity that has been seen in the unexpectedly large outbreaks of Ebola and Zika viruses in the last decade.
It is thought that the increase in human travel due to the lifting of the Covid pandemic restriction has contributed to the spread of the Monkeypox infection. Jimmy Whitworth, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Reuters, "My working theory would be that there's a lot of it about in west and central Africa, travel has resumed, and that's why we are seeing more cases."
How to Prevent Monkeypox?
According to WHO, travelers and residents of monkeypox-endemic countries should stay away from contacting sick mammals such as marsupials, rodents, and non-human primates (dead or alive). People also refrain from handling or eating wild games (bushmeat).
Experts have not yet mentioned any specific vaccine for Monkeypox. However, the BBC says some countries have already begun preserving against smallpox. Researchers believe that the smallpox vaccine might be 85% effective because of the similarity of Monkeypox to smallpox. So far we have discussed the basic facts about Monkeypox including symptoms, treatment, and ways of prevention. Hope our discussion will help you to stay safe from this virus.