Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is endemic in Central and West Africa. When cases are detected outside Africa they are usually identified in returned travellers who visited endemic areas.
The current outbreaks in Europe, Canada and the U.S. are different and very concerning. Most of these cases did not report international travel to endemic countries. Several of the cases are among men who have sex with men. Bangladesh has no infected or suspected cases of monkeypox so far, announced the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Monkeypox is sometimes seen in central and west Africa and small outbreaks have been found elsewhere periodically, including in the United States in 2003. But there’s some concern right now because of the sheer geographic spread that’s happening: cases have been confirmed in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Canada this month and there’s been a new case each this week in Germany and in Australia.
The early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Typically, symptoms are mild. In the next stage, a rash develops — often on the face — that can spread to the chest and hands. The pus-filled lesions eventually scab over and fall off.
How do you get monkeypox?
A person can get monkeypox when they come into contact with the virus from an animal, a person, or materials contaminated with the virus, the CDC says. The virus can then enter the body through broken skin or the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The virus is usually contracted from a rodent or small mammal, and it does not easily spread from one person to another.
Experts suspect that the pathogen that causes monkeypox circulates in rodents - monkeys are so-called false hosts.
In fact, the monkeypox virus can spread through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or items such as clothing and bedding that have been contaminated with the virus.
Prevention’s the best tool. There’s no proven effective treatment, although the smallpox vaccine, antivirals and vaccinia immune globulin can be used, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
People are asked to be mindful of lesions and avoid close contact with them, as well as with animals that appear to be ill. And good hygiene, like washing hands with soap and water, avoiding touching nose or mouth or rubbing one’s eyes, etc., which is also recommended to avoid spread of colds or COVID-19.
It can also spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, typically in a close setting, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Treatment is generally supportive as there are no specific drugs available.
What to do if you suspect you have monkeypox
The general public and health clinics should be aware and have unusual skin rashes examined by specialist staff, the WHO said in a separate statement.
If monkeypox is suspected, patients should be isolated. There is not a proven treatment for monkeypox, but doctors can treat its symptoms. Experts think a smallpox vaccine could help reduce symptoms or prevent disease if administered shortly after someone gets infected.