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Monkeypox: Should You Be Worried?

Monkeypox: Should You Be Worried?

Monkeypox: Should You Be Worried? 


Monkeypox infection is a viral infection that is usually transmitted from animals to humans with symptoms very similar to that of smallpox. It is known to be caused by the monkeypox virus. This disease was first observed in a bunch of lab monkeys in 1958. The first human monkeypox infection was reported in 1970 in the democratic republic of Congo. Since then few cases have been reported across several parts of the world primarily in central and West Africa. The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services identified a human case in a United States resident who went from Nigeria to Dallas on July 15, 2021. Since then an increased number of monkeypox infections are being reported around the world. With over 100 confirmed cases worldwide, the World health organization on 21 May 2022 issued a warning against this infection.


Monkeypox virus: Monkeypox virus is an enclosed double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Poxviridae family's Orthopoxvirus genus. The monkeypox virus has been discovered in a variety of animal species. The virus affects many species, including squirrels, monkeys, dormice, and other non-human primates.


Symptoms of Monkeypox


The monkeypox virus normally takes 1 to 2 weeks to make you sick after exposure, but it can take up to 3 weeks. Monkeypox symptoms and signs include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscles pain
  • Chills
  • Pain in the back
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Swelling in lymph nodes
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Skin rash

Characteristic Monkeypox Symptoms: Skin Eruptions/Rash


Skin eruptions are the characteristic sign of Monkeypox. Lesions usually start on the face before spreading to other parts of the body, such as the hands and feet. Additional locations where these lesions typically occur include the palms, soles, genitals, and eyes. They start as little flat patches before developing into small bumps that fill with clear and then yellow fluid before bursting and scabbling. There may be a few or several thousand lesions, which may merge to form larger lesions. Lesions develop in the same stage in every section of the body affected. Their appearance is similar to a smallpox rash. The symptoms typically last for 2 to 4 weeks. They may leave faint markings after healing before darkening.


How Can You Get Infected?


Humans or animals infected with monkeypox can transmit the virus via blood, other body fluids, or sores on the skin, including inside the nose and mouth. The spread of these body fluids can occur by touching anything that came in contact with them. The virus enters your body through a skin breach that you may not notice, as well as through your lips, nose, and eyes. You could also inhale it, but you'd have to be nearby for some time. Because bigger droplets don't travel very far, this is the case.


Is Monkeypox Dangerous?


The disease usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks. It can be dangerous, especially in youngsters who have been exposed to a lot of the virus, as well as in adults who have other health problems or have weakened immune systems. Thousands of lesions may form simultaneously and cause the loss of significant portions of skin all at once in some circumstances. Up to 10% of those who develop monkeypox die from it, with the majority of deaths occurring in the younger age groups. There are a variety of secondary complications that can follow monkeypox, including:

  • inflammation of the brain
  • Infection
  • Bronchial pneumonia
  • Corneal infection with the potential loss of vision.



Your doctor will examine your lesions and ask you questions about your symptoms, including when you first became aware of the infection. They may reach a diagnosis by excluding other possible diseases like measles, chickenpox, syphilis, allergies, scabies, and other bacterial skin illnesses.

Testing for the virus can help confirm the diagnosis. The ideal laboratory test is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of samples from skin lesions. Your consulting physician might need the date of commencement of fever, date of the beginning of rash, date of specimen collection, current stage of rash, and your age to correctly correlate the test results.


Monkeypox Treatment


The treatment for monkeypox is not specific. Monkeypox treatment commonly consists of the management of your symptoms to keep you comfortable and avoid any serious complications, these includes 

  • Rest
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Antipyretic medications to control the fever
  • Oxygenation if needed 
  • In case of bacterial or varicella-zoster secondary infection, empirical antibiotic therapy or aciclovir can be used.

There is evidence that those who have been vaccinated against smallpox have a better chance of survival and may only show mild symptoms if infected. To assist reduce the spread of monkeypox in the United States, some doctors recommend a smallpox vaccination, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG). Monkeypox has a licensed antiviral, although it is not widely available. Tecovirimat is licensed for the treatment of numerous poxviruses, including monkeypox, in the European Union and the United States. Brincidofovir, an oral antiviral first line of the drug against smallpox can also be used as an effective drug for monkeypox treatment. 


Prevention of Monkeypox: Steps to Follow

  • Avoid contact with animals that may carry the virus, particularly dead animals in places where monkeypox is prevalent.
  • Make sure your bed and other items don't contain any animal waste.
  • Separate diseased people or animals from others who may get affected.
  • If you must come into contact with an infected animal or person, wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • If you can't prevent contact, wear protective gear such as masks, safety goggles or glasses, and gloves.
Medanta Medical Team
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