What is the Monkeypox Virus, How Does It Spread?

Published May 19th, 2022 - 10:03 GMT
Monkeypox virus
Monkeypox virus. (Shutterstock/ edited by Al-Bawaba News)

Monkeypox virus is making a strong comeback stealing the light from the Ukrainian war and the COVID-19 outbreak after dozens of cases were either reported or investigated in different countries across the world, especially in the European Union where more cases are being suspected, but what do we exactly know about the Monkeypox virus?

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) research, the Monkeypox virus is a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals. The first case was discovered back in a small child back in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The incubation period of the newly spreading Monkeypox virus ranges from 6 to 13 days however it might be from 5 to 21 days, the WHO said. Symptoms such as fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy, back pain, myalgia (muscle aches), and an intense asthenia (lack of energy) usually appear in the patients who test positive for the Monkeypox virus. 

On the other hand, skin eruption usually starts within 1-3 days of the appearance of fever. The rash appears mostly on the face and extremities rather than on the trunk.

Nevertheless, the Monkeypox virus is, according to doctors and researchers, a self-limited disease as it lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status, as well as nature of complications.

Despite the huge inventions and development the medical field has made in the 20th century, till this moment there's no specific treatment recommended for the Monkeypox virus.

In the past, researchers said that vaccination against smallpox with the vaccinia vaccine was proved through several observational studies to be about 85% effective in preventing the Monkeypox virus. A newer vaccinia-based vaccine was approved for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox in 2019 and is also not yet widely available in the public sector.

The Monkeypox virus spreads through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores, for example, clothing and bedding, or it might be transmitted through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

In 2022, dozens of cases of the Monkeypox virus were discovered in different regions. The US on Wednesday announced its first case of the Monkeypox virus after a man was diagnosed in Massachusetts after he returned from a journey to Canada.

Spain has launched an awarning after  23 cases of the Monkeypox virus were discovered in Britain and Portugal. In Canada,13 suspected cases are being investigated.

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