How Dangerous is Monkey Pox?

Monkeypox and Public Health Emergency

The United Kingdom Health authorities confirmed two individuals having diagnosed with monkeypox in London. The authorities said that they contacted the virus while in Nigeria.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus. The virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.


In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox: Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not.

The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days. The illness begins with Fever, Headache, Muscle aches, Backache, Swollen lymph nodes, Chills and Exhaustion. After one to three days of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.

The illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks. In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease


Monkeypox virus transmission occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).

Animal-to human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding.

Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets, Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required.

Other human-to-human methods of Transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.


Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs). Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal. Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.


Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. For purposes of controlling a monkeypox outbreak in the United States smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used.


The CDCs monkeypox overview says the infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research – which led to the name monkeypox’. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. According to the WHO, 15 countries on four continents have so far reported confirmed cases of monkeypox in humans. Locally acquired cases have been confirmed in the DRC (which has the largest incidence of the infection in the world). Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Imported cases have been found in South Sudan and Benin in Africa, and in the United States, UK, Israel, and Singapore.


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