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What is monkeypox, how does it spread, and how dangerous is it?

Since early May, several instances of monkeypox have been discovered in North America and Europe, increasing fears about the disease’s spread. Monkeypox is endemic in regions of Africa.

Monkeypox is only lethal in rare situations, and most people recover within a few weeks.

Thousands of human infections have been reported in portions of West and Central Africa in recent years, although they are uncommon in Europe and North America.

On Friday, France announced its first case.

What exactly is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus spread by animals that causes symptoms that are comparable to smallpox but are less severe clinically.

Monkeypox has been detected in a variety of animals in Africa, including rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and other monkey species.

Human-to-human transmission, according to the World Health Organization, is limited.

Monkeypox in humans causes lesions, rashes on the face, palms, and soles of the feet, scabs, fever, bodyaches, and chills.
Human monkeypox was first discovered in a nine-year-old kid in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1970, in an area where smallpox had been eradicated two years before.

According to the World Health Organization, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African nations since 1970: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, DRC, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.

The disease was first detected outside of Africa in the United States in the spring of 2003.

What is the method of transmission?

Direct contact with infected animals’ blood, bodily fluids, or skin or mucous membrane sores can result in transmission from animals to people.

Close contact with respiratory secretions, skin sores of an infected person, or recently contaminated objects can result in secondary or human-to-human transmission.

Long-term face-to-face contact is required for respiratory droplet particle transmission, putting healthcare staff, family members, and other close contacts of infected persons at danger.

The WHO announced on Monday that some of the recently confirmed cases in the United Kingdom have been found in gay men.

Experts, however, have cautioned that establishing a relationship is premature.

“Although the current cluster of cases involves men who have sex with men,” Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, told the Science Media Center (SMC) website, “it is probably too early to draw any conclusions about the mode of transmission or assume that sexual activity was necessary for transmission until we have clear epidemiological data and analysis.”

Is it really that bad?

Symptoms normally last two to four weeks and the condition is self-limiting.

Severe instances are more common in youngsters and are linked to the amount of virus exposure, the patient’s medical status, and the consequences.

In all known infections, the mortality rate per case varied but stayed between 0 and 10%.

The West African strain, which has been found in UK cases, is thought to have a case fatality rate of roughly 1%.

According to Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, “there is also a strain identified in the Congo region that can be deadly in up to 10% of cases.”
Is there a cure for this?

Although there is no specific cure for monkeypox, smallpox vaccine has been demonstrated to be 85 percent effective in preventing the disease.

However, because smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, vaccine availability is limited.

“The good news is that the smallpox vaccine provides protection against monkeypox.
The bad news is that most people under 45 do not have the smallpox vaccine, according to Eric FeiglDing, an epidemiology and health economist.

In the United Arab Emirates, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi urged all health facilities operating in the emirate to examine monkeypox sickness and report any suspected, prospective, or confirmed cases using the electronic communicable disease reporting system.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) issued a circular to all health professionals and establishments operating under the DHA’s authority to promote epidemiological examination of the disease, in accordance with WHO standards.

The circular required all competent authorities in the emirate to make all reasonable steps to discover and examine the disease as soon as possible in order to prevent its spread.

To prevent legal repercussions, the DHA further urged all parties to completely comply with the circular’s provisions.

Monkeypox is a kind of smallpox that was eradicated in 1980, and the first monkeypox vaccine was licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019.