The United Kingdom has confirmed its first case of monkeypox, the virus that has passed from infected animals such as rodents to humans. The virus was found in a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria.
The patient is currently being treated in an isolation unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
What is monkeypox?
It’s a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States. Monkeypox virus belongs to Orthopox sex in the family SmallpoxAndHe said as well.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), zoonoses mainly occur in tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa and are sometimes exported to other regions.
Symptoms of the disease
Fever, rash, severe headache, backache, muscle aches (myalgia), asthenia (lack of energy), and swollen lymph nodes are common symptoms associated with monkeypox.
Skin eruptions have also been reported in monkeypox patients, which begin within 1-3 days of fever onset, according to the World Health Organization. Rashes tend to be more concentrated on the face. The World Health Agency said that apart from the face, it affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the mucous membranes of the mouth, genitals, conjunctiva, as well as the cornea.
The incubation period (the time interval from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox usually ranges from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days, according to the World Health Organization.
How is the disease transmitted to humans?
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of smallpox-like disease occurred in monkey colonies preserved for research, giving the disease its name.
The first case of human-to-human transmission was reported more than 50 years ago, in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The World Health Organization says that transmission can result from direct contact with blood, body fluids, or skin or mucous lesions of infected animals.
The natural reservoir for monkeypox has yet to be identified, she added, although rodents are the most likely, adding that eating insufficiently cooked meat and other animal products of infected animals is a potential risk factor.
How can monkeypox be treated?
There is currently no specific treatment recommended for monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization. Smallpox vaccination has been found to be about 85 percent effective in preventing the disease. Therefore, it recommends pre-vaccination of smallpox in childhood to prevent the serious symptoms of monkeypox.
The natural host of monkeypox virus
Apart from rodents, rope squirrels, tree squirrels, flowerpots, primates and other species have also been found to carry the virus.