The monkeypox outbreak is continuing to spread, with cases now reported in over 60 countries. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, as the virus has shown signs of sustained transmission and is now affecting people who have not traveled to endemic areas.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare but serious viral illness that is caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus is related to smallpox, but it is much less severe. Monkeypox typically causes fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, the disease can be more serious, leading to pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads through contact with the virus from an infected animal, person, or contaminated materials. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, or mouth. Monkeypox can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms of monkeypox
The symptoms of monkeypox typically appear within 1-2 weeks of exposure to the virus. The first symptoms are usually fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, respiratory symptoms, and swollen lymph nodes. A rash may then develop, starting on the face and then spreading to the rest of the body. The rash typically looks like pimples or blisters, and it can be painful.
Treatment for monkeypox
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. Treatment is supportive and includes measures to relieve symptoms such as fever and pain. In some cases, doctors may use antiviral medications to treat monkeypox.
Prevention of monkeypox
No specific vaccine exists for monkeypox, but the smallpox vaccine can provide protection against it. The smallpox vaccine is about 85% effective against monkeypox. Other measures to prevent monkeypox include avoiding contact with infected animals or people and practicing good hygiene.
The monkeypox outbreak is a serious public health threat, but it is important to remember that the disease is usually mild and most people recover without complications. Taking steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox is essential, and the WHO collaborates with countries worldwide to control the outbreak.