The aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic is yet to subside and we are met with yet another virus – The Monkeypox virus. If you’re curious about the who, what & where of this newly detected virus taking several countries by storm, keep scrolling to get your answers.
The Monkeypox virus is the latest virus on the radar and so far it has been detected in the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, and Australia, among others. Read on to find out more about the virus and whether you should be concerned or not.
What Is Monkeypox Virus?
Monkeypox is a virus commonly found among monkeys in Central & West Africa in the vicinity of the tropical forests. It was first detected in 1958 in labs that had kept monkeys for research. However, it can also spread to humans and the first-ever human case recorded was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 9-year-old boy.
The virus has two strains; central African & west African – the latter is said to be milder than the former.
How Does It Spread?
People can catch the Monkeypox virus if they are bitten by infected wild animals or if they come in contact with the animal’s bodily fluids, scabs, blood, etc. It can also be contracted via an infected person’s bodily fluids, bedsheets, towels, clothes, etc, or if one is in close contact with someone who has Monkeypox.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states, “monkeypox can be transmitted by droplet exposure via exhaled large droplets and by contact with infected skin lesions or contaminated materials.”
What Are Its Symptoms?
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the initial symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, muscle ache, headache, back pain, exhaustion, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
A rash can form on the face typically once the fever breaks which can be severely itchy and can resemble chickenpox before eventually developing into a scab. It takes around 2-3 weeks for the virus to die down.
Are There Any Treatments?
The smallpox vaccine is over 80% effective against Monkeypox, reports BBC. However, according to New Scientist, the antiviral drug ‘tecovirimat’ and the vaccine ‘Jynneos’ are approved in both US & UK for treating Smallpox and Monkeypox, while the latter can be administrated to people over the age of 18.
Is It Life-Threatening?
The two strains of Monkeypox mentioned above have varying levels of intensity. According to WHO, the central African strain can prove deadly in 1 in 10 cases whereas the west African strain is deadly in 1 in 100 reported cases.
Which Countries Have Reported Monkeypox Cases So Far?
So far, the virus & suspected cases have been detected in the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, and Australia, among others.
Pakistan, thankfully, has not reported any cases of Monkeypox virus so far & we are hoping it stays that way. Let’s stay vigilant & protect ourselves from potentially another pandemic.