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  • Features
  • Updated: May 28, 2022

Monkeypox, Rising Cases: All You Need To Know About The Virus

The emergence of the Monkeypox which has been on the rise since May 2022 has brought many to wonder where the virus comes with.

This month, many countries around the world reported cases of the virus, as countries like the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, and Sweden amongst others confirmed cases of the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that there are over 131 confirmed cases of the monkeypox, and a further 106 suspected cases, in 19 different countries.

And with the world still reeling from the effects of the covid pandemic, the rise of the monkeypox might put many people on edge.

The question on the minds of many would now be how to ensure that they do not get the virus. 

What is Monkeypox?

A monkeypox is an endless number of viruses that circulate in nature. It's like other well-known diseases like chickenpox and smallpox.

It is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family as smallpox.

The virus was first detected in captive monkeys in 1958 and the first human case was recorded in 1970.

How does the virus spread?

The monkeypox spreads when someone comes into close contact with another person, animal or contaminated materials like towels or bedding, mostly via respiratory droplets but also through contact with bodily fluids or monkeypox sores.

The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose and mouth.

Also, human-to-human transmission most commonly occurs through respiratory droplets. Animal-to-human transmission meanwhile may occur via a bite or scratch.

Some recent cases of monkeypox have also involved men who have had sex with men, however, experts say the disease is not a sexually transmitted infection but can spread via direct contact during sex.

Most of the recent cases of monkeypox in the U.K. and Canada have been reported among attendees of sexual health services at health clinics in men who have sex with men.

Monkeypox naturally occurs in Africa, especially in the west and central African nations. Severe cases are more common among people with underlying immune deficiencies and young children.

Monkeypox and its symptoms

The initial symptoms of the virus include fever, headaches, muscle ache, swelling and back pain. Then, within a week or two, one develops a rash which develops into pustules.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of the virus which include rashes and fever are being urged to seek medical advice, contacting any clinic before visiting.

Are there treatments?

There are currently no proven, safe treatments for monkeypox. Many even cited that the infection typically lasts two to four weeks and usually clears up on its own.

However, a monkeypox vaccine has been approved and the vaccine for smallpox can be used to control outbreaks, this is because smallpox vaccines have proven largely effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

The WHO said the smallpox vaccine could provide up to 85% protection against monkeypox, and people vaccinated against smallpox in childhood may experience a milder disease.

Also, it's claimed that antiretroviral drugs called cidofovir and tecovirimat, can also be used to control outbreaks of the monkeypox.

How dangerous is the monkeypox?

The virus can be deadly in some cases. Not so deadly, as the proportion of those who died from the monkeypox ranges from 1% to 10% depending on the strain, the World Health Organisation said.

A person is contagious until all scabs on the body have fallen off and there is intact skin underneath, though the scabs themselves can still contain infectious material.

As of today, the cases of the monkeypox have risen, with over 230 confirmed and suspected individuals with the disease globally.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the figure is expected to rise as more countries begin testing for the virus.

There have been no deaths associated with the new cases yet. And this means there is no cause for panic – at least not yet.

Because the virus is similar to smallpox, there are already treatments and vaccines that can help stop its spread.

The strain of the virus currently spreading is thought to have low mortality rates, and the risk to the general public is thought to be low, due to the way it transmits, unlike other viruses which can be passed around through the air.

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Quadri Adejumo
Quadri Adejumo

Quadri Adejumo is a reporter, sports column writer, opinion and profile writer. He tweets via @...

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