Monkeypox is an infectious zoonotic viral disease that manifests in the form of painful rashes, swelling of the lymph nodes, and fever. Though the first monkeypox virus emerged in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, the first human case occurred in 1970. The current outbreak of monkeypox seeks to trace its origins to May 2021, when an individual who traveled to the UK from Nigeria developed rashes on the face. The Polymerase chain reaction test confirmed Monkeypox virus infection.
Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Monkeypox Disease
Monkeypox virus, the primary cause of Mpox disease, belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family of Poxviridae; also the mother classification of Smallpox and Chicken pox viruses. Monkeypox has two main strains: Clade 1 and Clade 2. The Clade 2 strain, considered less severe, has affected West African countries and countries outside Africa, whereas Clade 1 has affected the Congo Basin. Clade 1 is the strain that has caused the current outbreak of Monkeypox.
The symptoms of Monkeypox in humans develop with a general feeling of illness, leading to a flu-like condition. The Monkeypox symptoms usually develop after one to three weeks of exposure to the Monkeypox virus and last for two to four weeks. The pattern or sequence of developing the symptoms of Monkeypox disease is not always the same; some patients might show the emergence of a rash as the first sign of Monkeypox, while others may suffer fever, sore throat, flu, or a general feeling of illness.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox Virus.
Is Monkeypox contagious? Can Monkeypox cause death?
Monkeypox can transmit from person to person through physical contact, though evidence for the spread of Monkeypox disease through the air is not sufficient. The most common transmission mode of the Monkeypox virus is sexual; however, other forms of physical or close contact that cause the spread of the Monkeypox disease are the following:
- Talking, breathing, or singing in the vicinity of each other
- Touching, vaginal, or anal sex
- Kissing or skin-to-skin contact
The environmental factor, known as fomite transmission, is also a cause of monkeypox transmission. The virus enters the body through broken skin; hence, exposure of abrasions, eyes, mucous membranes, or body cuts to objects like clothing, bedding, towels, electronics, and surfaces contaminated with the Monkeypox virus can cause the disease.
The fatality rate of Monkeypox is not very high; most patients can recover on their own, and antiviral agents or therapies have also shown positive results as the treatment for Monkeypox. Data suggests a fatality rate of 1% to 10%; however, the complications developed during Monkeypox often cause the deaths of patients. Though the authority of the data is questionable because of less reporting from certain regions, 130 deaths since January 2022 underscore the seriousness of the disease.
[REFERENCE: Kaler, Jasndeep, et al. “Monkeypox: A Comprehensive Review of Transmission, Pathogenesis, and Manifestation.” PubMed Central (PMC), 3 July 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9345383.]
The Latest Outbreak of Monkeypox
The first few cases of Monkeypox that are considered the cause of the current outbreak appeared in the UK in May 2021. Since then, it has spread to more than 111 countries in all six regions as classified by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has reported more than 87,113 confirmed cases after laboratory investigations; the disease has also caused more than 130 deaths since January 2022.
As per the latest WHO report published on 27th April 2023, an overall 0.2% increase has been noticed in Mpox cases. All regions have experienced a declining trend in the spread of Monkeypox, except the Western Pacific Region, where the numbers of Mpox increased with a sustainable local transmission affecting men in Japan, Korea, and China.
Prevention and Treatment for the Monkeypox
Monkeypox can be contained by implementing the protocols created for preventing and managing the transmission of viral infections. These protocols outline government obligations, community management, and personal self-care.
WHO Response to the Monkeypox Outbreak
The WHO has developed operational planning guidelines named “Strategic Preparedness, Readiness, and Response Plan” to provide a framework for national authorities to direct their efforts and resources in response to the current outbreak of Monkeypox.
Objectives of SPRR
The three main objectives of the SPRR guidelines are to “interrupt human-human transmission, minimize zoonotic transmission, and protect vulnerable groups at risk.”
Components of SPRR
There are five main components to the “Strategic Preparedness, Readiness, and Response Plan.” Each has certain focus areas or pillars that outline the fundamental capabilities and actions required for mounting a successful public health response to the Monkeypox outbreak.
- Emergency Coordination: In order to boost emergency operations and public health services, emergency coordination outlines the tasks and capacities that administrative units of a nation might use to coordinate with stakeholders.
- Collaborative Surveillance: Better information, dissemination, monitoring, and sharing are the goals of WHO. It will help better understand how this outbreak is progressing, identifying specific hazards and response measures guided by data collection and exchange.
- Community Protection: WHO urges governments to proactively respond to Monkeypox by ensuring preventive measures in the administrative domain and encouraging communities to participate in the collective effort to contain or control the spread of the Monkeypox outbreak.
- Safe and Scalable Care: This component spells out the guidelines for public and private health facilities, the workforce, identifying higher risk groups, clinical care, and capacity building.
- Countermeasures and Research: SRRP guidelines under this component facilitate research to improve and assess medical health products for Monkeypox.
Self-Care against Monkeypox
- Isolate yourself and stay in your room.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Use a mask and avoid skin contact.
- Take a bath frequently.
- Sexual contact is the most common mode of transmission, so limit your sex partners.
Monkeypox transmits through close contact with infected humans or animals and manifests as a rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and general illness. Though treatable, it can develop into a life-threatening complication. The latest outbreak calls for a concerted response from public health stakeholders; in this regard, the WHO Strategic Preparedness, Readiness, and Response Plan is a living document that provides operational guidelines to national authorities to control the outbreak of Monkeypox. Stay tuned to StayFreshToday for more on this virus and its strands across the globe.
Blogs to Follow