WATCH: Monkeypox explained

May 21, 2022

Monkeypox is a virus that spreads from wild animals such as rats and primates to humans in exceptional cases

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In recent days, European and American health officials have discovered a cluster of monkeypox cases, predominantly in young men. It's an unusual outbreak of a disease that only occurs in Africa, AP reported.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus that spreads from wild animals, such as rats and primates, to humans inexceptional cases. The disease is endemic in Central and West Africa, hence, the majority of human cases have occurred there.

Scientists discovered the virus in 1958 after two outbreaks of a "pox-like" disease in laboratory monkeys — hence, the term monkeypox. In 1970, a nine-year-old child in a remote section of Congo became the first reported human infection.

Symptoms and treatment

Monkeypox is a component of the same viral family as smallpox, although its symptoms are less severe.

The majority of patients exhibit simply fever, body pains, chills, and exhaustion. People with severe illnesses may develop rashes and sores on the face and hands that can spread to other areas of the body.

The quarantine period lasts between approximately five days and three weeks. The majority of people recover within two to four weeks without hospitalisation.

Up to one in ten persons can die from monkeypox, and the disease is believed to be especially severe in young people.

Vaccines against smallpox that have been found to be effective against monkeypox are commonly administered to those exposed to the virus. Additionally, antiviral medicines are being developed.

Thursday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggested isolating all suspected cases and offering the smallpox vaccine to high-risk contacts.

Reported cases

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that thousands of cases of monkeypox occur annually in a dozen African nations. The majority are in Congo, which reports over 6,000 cases per year, and Nigeria, with approximately 3,000 instances per year.

As a result of insufficient health monitoring systems, many sick individuals are likely to go undiagnosed, according to specialists.

Monkeypox is occasionally observed outside of Africa, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Cases are often related to travel to Africa or animal contact in places where the disease is more prevalent.

In 2003, there were 47 confirmed or suspected cases in six states. They contracted the virus from prairie dogs kept as pets in close proximity to imported young mammals from Ghana.

On Wednesday, US officials revealed that a man who had just visited Canada had contracted monkeypox. The Canadian Public Health Agency additionally confirmed two cases associated with this positive test. Health officials in Quebec previously reported 17 suspected cases in the Montreal region.


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