What is monkeypox and how it spreads; know symptoms from expert

Monkeypox, the viral zoonotic infection, a milder cousin of small pox is making news nowadays after UK reported the first case of human infection with the virus. The human transmission of the virus is more common in Africa and it spreads when humans come into direct contact with the infected animals. The disease is not severe in most of the cases and symptoms typically last for 14-21 days.

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At the outset a patient infected with monkeypox will have symptoms like fever, headache, chills, body ache, exhaustion and after than a painful rash or open sores might appear on face first and then on other body parts. One should avoid coming into close contact with skin lesions of the infected person, and the clothes, objects and beddings used by them.

“A viral zoonotic infection, mimicking small pox (although very mild in comparison), monkeypox is a rare disease. Monkeypoxvirus is classified in the category of orthopox viridae. Although monkeypox virus was named after the animal from which it was originally isolated, rodents are the primary viral reservoir,” says Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist, Head, Ameri Health, Asian Hospital, Faridabad.

Symptoms of monkeypox

– Monkeypox virus in human is characterised by a systemic illness and vesicular rash similar to those of Variola.

– The clinical presentation of monkey pox can be oftenly confused with that of the more common varicella zoster virus infection.

– Compared with the lesions of the herpes virus infection, monkeypox lesions tend to be more uniform, diffuse and peripheral in distribution.

– Patients present with fever, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, rash and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).

– The rash generally presents after one to three days from exposure. It starts from the face and then spread to other parts of the body such as palms and soles.

How monkepox virus spreads

As per the CDC, there are three ways of transmission of monkeypox virus:

1. Animal to human: When humans get in contact with infected animal via broken skin, bites, scratches or even infected animals’ body fluids. Consuming undercooked meat is also a possibility of transmission.

2. Human to human: It is extremely rare, but possible through airdroplet media.

3. It can be transmitted via coming in contact of infected items such as beddings and linen of infected patients.

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