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Monkeypox: everything you need to know about the disease that is raising concerns

This is all you need to know about monkeypox: symptoms, origin and how to treat it.

A new and strange disease has set off alarm bells in Europe. After the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency announced on May 7 that the first case of monkeypox was detected in London, an atypical viral infection, similar to human smallpox, that can be transmitted by direct contact or through the exchange of bodily secretions, and, if not treated on time, can be deadly.

The increase in new cases has caused uncertainty on the European continent, as many are questioning what this disease is about, which could lead to a new pandemic. That is why here, we share with you what we know about monkeypox.

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Origin of monkeypox

Monkeypox is a very rare viral disease. It was first discovered in 1959, after two outbreaks were found in monkey colonies at a research institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It was not until 1970 that the first human case was identified. The infected was a 9-month-old boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was hospitalized with suspected smallpox. A sample, sent to the WHO Smallpox Reference Center in Moscow, revealed that the symptoms were caused by the monkeypox virus.

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The patient’s family said could not recall whether the child had been in contact with a monkey before he developed symptoms. The investigation showed that the child was the only one who had not been vaccinated against human smallpox.

What is monkeypox?

The infection is caused by a virus of the Orthopoxvirus group. It is similar to human smallpox, however, its symptoms are milder and less long-lasting.

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According to the World Health Organization, its incubation period ranges from 6 to 16 days and usually lasts from two to four weeks.

It is also divided into two periods; invasion and eruption. In the first period, the sick will experience its symptoms, while rashes appear in the second period.

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Cases of monkeypox are usually associated with travel to West Africa.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can be transmitted by contact or body fluids exposure, like saliva, infected respiratory tract secretions or by direct contact with the lesion caused by the rash.

Similarly, viral excretion through feces may also represent another source of exposure.

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What are the symptoms?

In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to the symptoms of smallpox, although slightly milder. According to information provided by the UK Health Safety Agency, the most common monkeypox symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Rash on the face, hands and feet, and other parts of the body.

What is the treatment for the monkeypox? Is there a cure?

The World Health Organization recently reported that so far there is no treatment or vaccine for the disease. However, the common smallpox vaccine is 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.

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In which countries has it been detected

So far, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States have reported cases of rare infections that have put health authorities around the world on alert.

Story originally published in Cultura Colectiva News

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