The WHO is concerned about the spread of Monkeypox in communities.
Monkeypox, a mild viral infection, is endemic in Africa, but its spread to non-endemic countries like Europe and the United States has raised concerns.
So far, more than 200 countries have been confirmed or suspected, with the virus not previously circulating in around 20 cases.
The monkeypox virus causes the disease monkeypox. It’s a viral zoonotic disease, which means it can spread from animals to humans. It can also be transmitted from person to person.
Monkeypox is most common in central and western Africa, where there are tropical rainforests and animals that may carry the virus. Monkeypox cases are occasionally discovered in countries other than central and western Africa, following travel from endemic areas.
Monkeypox symptoms include a fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rash or lesions. The rash appears one to three days after the fever starts.. Lesions can be flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, crust, dry, and fall off. A single person can have anywhere from a few to several thousand lesions. The rash usually appears on the face, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. They are also found on the lips, genitals, and eyes. Symptoms usually last 2 to 4 weeks and resolve on their own without treatment. Consult your doctor if you suspect you have monkeypox. Inform them if you have had close contact with someone who has monkeypox, whether suspected or confirmed.
Does it spread from person to person?
People who have monkeypox are contagious while they are sick (normally for between two and four weeks). Close physical contact with someone who has symptoms can expose you to monkeypox. The rash, bodily fluids (such as fluid, pus, or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are all highly contagious. Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects such as eating utensils/dishes that have come into contact with an infected person can also infect others.
Mouth ulcers, lesions, or sores can also be infectious, which means the virus can spread through saliva. People who have close contact with an infectious person, such as health workers, household members, and sexual partners, are therefore at a higher risk of infection.
How you can protect yourself against Monkeypox
If you must come into contact with someone who has monkeypox because you are a health worker or live together, encourage the infected person to isolate themselves and cover any skin lesions if possible (e.g., by wearing clothing over the rash). When they are physically close to them, they should wear a medical mask, especially if they are coughing or have lesions in their mouth. You should also wear one. When possible, avoid skin-to-skin contact and wear disposable gloves if you have direct contact with lesions. If the person is unable to handle their own clothes or bedding, wear a mask.
Hands should be washed with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis, especially after contact with the infected person, their clothes, bed sheets, towels, and other items or surfaces they have touched or that may have come into contact with their rash or respiratory secretions (e.g., utensils, dishes). Warm water and detergent should be used to wash the person’s clothes, towels, bedsheets, and eating utensils. Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected, and contaminated waste should be disposed of.
Currently the risk of Monkeypox
Since 1970, 11 African countries have reported human cases of monkeypox: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cases do occur in non-endemic countries on occasion. These are usually reported by people who have visited endemic countries. Contact with animals infected by other imported small mammals caused one outbreak.
Multiple cases of monkeypox have been identified in several non-endemic countries as of May 2022. This is not typical of previous monkeypox patterns. WHO is collaborating with all affected countries to improve surveillance and provide guidance on how to stop the spread and care for those who have been infected.
Is there a vaccine against Monkeypox
There are several smallpox vaccines available that also provide some protection against monkeypox. A newer vaccine (MVA-BN, also known as Immune, Imvanex, or Jynneos) developed for smallpox was approved in 2019 for use in preventing monkeypox but is not yet widely available. WHO is collaborating with the manufacturer to increase access. People who have previously been immunized against smallpox will have some protection against monkeypox. The original smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public, and people under the age of 40–50 years are unlikely to have been immunized, as the smallpox vaccination ended in 1980, when it was declared the first disease to have been eradicated.