Udayavni Special

What is monkeypox, the disease detected in UK?

Team Udayavani, Jun 12, 2021, 3:18 PM IST

Two cases of the rare disease Monkeypox have been detected in UK’s North Wales. Public Health Wales officials have confirmed that both patients have been admitted to hospitals in England as a precaution.

The illness is most commonly found near tropical rainforests in central and west African countries, with the largest ever outbreak occurring in Nigeria in 2017.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that resembles smallpox which was first recognized in captive primates in 1958 and first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Unlike smallpox, whose only host is the human, monkeypox is a zoonosis, though human-to-human spread can occur. It is not as easily transmitted as smallpox among humans, and transmission is usually not sustained beyond two to three generations.

Although primates, including monkeys, can be infected, other animals such as squirrels and other rodents, are thought to be the reservoir hosts for this virus.

If a person comes in contact with clothing, bedding, respiratory or direct contact of an infected person, they can possibly catch the virus.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles, and general listlessness.

Once the fever breaks, a rash can develop, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The rash can be itchy and goes through different stages while healing, forming a scab, and then falls off. The sympytoms can last up to 2 to 4 weeks.

Although there is no specific cure for the illness, it can be controlled with the smallpox vaccine cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG).

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