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Monkeypox – Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

Dr. Sania Javaid

3 min read

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Monkeypox is a smallpox virus that is quite rare. But nowadays, in May 2022, there is an unusual surge in monkeypox cases. The monkeypox virus is gradually spreading with a number of cases being reported worldwide. Below we’ll discuss all you need to know about this virus so keep reading!

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease mainly spread by animals of the West and Central Africa. The virus has similar symptoms to that of smallpox, however it is is less transmissible.

According to experts, one in ten people dies from the reported cases of monkeypox. Sometimes it gets better soon, but at other times it can be life-threatening. Children and pregnant women are more susceptible to severe cases of the monkeypox virus.

Reports have concluded that the fatality ratio of monkeypox is around 3-6%. It is widely considered to be a self-limited disease, and in most people, it can go away on its own without treatment.

However, if you have any symptoms of the monkeypox virus, you should consult your doctor soon or your symptoms might worsen. Since the cases of monkeypox are rising fast, you must take care of yourself and your family.

Monkeypox Symptoms

When exposed to the monkeypox virus, it may take 5 to 21 days for the symptoms to show up. However, the timeline may vary. Monkeypox is quite similar to smallpox. But in monkeypox, your lymph nodes also get swollen- something that does not happen in smallpox.

Following are the common symptoms of the monkeypox virus:

  • High body temperature or fever
  • Muscle ache
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Backache
  • Chills

Usually, a rash occurs within 15 days of the first symptoms. Often it begins on the face and then on the other parts of the body. Most people confuse monkeypox with chickenpox. The blisters are fluid-filled. Later they scab off and fall.

Commonly, monkeypox symptoms tend to clear within 2 to 4 weeks. If you or someone near you has symptoms of the monkeypox virus, you must consult with a healthcare provider soon.

And especially if you have any symptoms of monkeypox or chickenpox and have visited west or central Africa in the past six weeks, you must seek professional help.

Make sure to stay at home if you have any symptoms of monkeypox. Moreover, tell those people that you have blisters or any other signs of the monkeypox virus with whom you have interacted recently.

How Can You Get Monkeypox?

You can catch monkeypox from wild animals infected with the virus. It is most common in the parts of the west and central Africa.

Experts say it can spread through rodents such as squirrels, mice, and rats. If an infected animal bites you or you come in contact with its blood, blisters, scabs, and body fluids, you can get a monkeypox infection.

Moreover, you can also contract the infection if you eat the animal containing the virus and it is not cooked thoroughly. You can also catch the virus if you touch an infected animal’s fur or skin.

How Does Monkeypox Virus Spread?

Monkeypox can spread through close contact with an affected person. Following are some of the ways it is likely to spread:

  • By touching bedding, clothing, towels, or anything else that has been in close contact with the person having monkeypox
  • By touching the blisters or rashes of someone having monkeypox

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Monkeypox Virus?

Very few people are at risk of getting monkeypox. However, you may be at increased risk of it if:

  • You have traveled to the west or central Africa recently
  • You have the lesions of someone having monkeypox
  • You have shared bedding with someone who has monkeypox
  • You have been in close contact with someone having monkeypox

Monkeypox Prevention

Monkeypox is quite rare. But you must follow all the safety measures to protect yourself from it.

To protect yourself from getting the monkeypox infection, you can practice the following tips:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water often. If you do not have water, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Do not eat anything uncooked. Before eating, check that the meal is cooked properly.
  • Avoid going close or near to stray or dead animals. Also, avoid going close to the animal that does not appear well.
  • Avoid touching the meat of wild animals, especially directly with your hands.
  • Avoid close contact and direct exposure to people having monkeypox.

Monkeypox Treatment

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox as of now. However, your general physician can prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms.

People diagnosed with monkeypox need to isolate themselves at home. If you go out, you will end up spreading the infection to other people. And the chain will continue. But by staying at home, you can prevent the spread of the disease.

The Bottom Line

Monkeypox is becoming common nowadays throughout the world. And the number of cases is frequently rising. Therefore you need to protect yourself from it by practicing preventive measures.

If you have travelled to Africa recently, you should keep an eye on yourself for any symptoms of the monkeypox virus. Moreover, if you have any symptoms of the infection, you should isolate yourself at home and consult with a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Make sure to isolate yourself at home if you are diagnosed with it. Monkeypox is a contagious disease. Therefore you must avoid exposure to other people to prevent its spread.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Sania Javaid - Author Dr. Sania Javaid is a top Dermatologist in Lahore with over 10 years of experience in her field. You can consult her through oladoc.com.
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