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Monkeypox: US reports its first case; what is monkeypox and its symptoms.

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Monkeypox: US reports its first case; what is monkeypox and its symptoms.
Pox virus, illustration. Pox viruses are oval shaped and have double-strand DNA. There are many types of Pox virus including Chickenpox, Monkeypox and Smallpox. Smallpox was eradicated in the 1970’s. Infection occurs because of contact with contaminated animals or people and results in a rash or small bumps on the skin.

Another case of monkeypox was reported in the US. It is the first confirmed case of this year that has been reported in the United States in a Massachusetts man who recently travelled to Canada.

“On 13 May 2022, WHO was notified of two laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case of monkeypox, from the same household, in the United Kingdom. On 15 May, four additional laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported amongst Sexual Health Services attendees presenting with a vesicular rash illness and in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).”-WHO

What is Monkeypox

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox. “Monkeypox can be transmitted by droplet exposure via exhaled large droplets and by contact with infected skin lesions or contaminated materials. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.  The disease is often self-limiting with symptoms usually resolving spontaneously within 14 to 21 days.”- WHO

There are two major strains of the virus – west African and central African.

Symptoms

According to WHO – Symptoms can be mild or severe, and lesions can be very itchy or painful. The animal reservoir remains unknown, although is likely to be among rodents. Contact with live and dead animals through hunting and consumption of wild game or bush meat are known risk factors.

“No source of infection has yet been confirmed for either the family or GBMSM clusters. Based on currently available information, the infection seems to have been locally acquired in the United Kingdom. The extent of local transmission is unclear at this stage and there is the possibility of identification of further cases. However, once monkeypox was suspected, authorities in the United Kingdom promptly initiated appropriate public health measures, including isolation of the cases and extensive forward and backward contact tracing to enable source identification.” WHO on the risk assessment.

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