Monkeypox: Symptoms and prevention Steps
Monkeypox is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic infection which means it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person. Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over.
Monkeypox symptoms are like smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person to person through:
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread the monkeypox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
If you are sick with monkeypox:
- Isolate at home
- If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.
Monkeypox virus cases in the UAE
UAE has so far confirmed a total number of 13 Monkeypox infections in the country and 2 recoveries from the virus. The first case of Monkeypox was recorded from a 29-years-old woman who arrived from West Africa on May 24th, 2022. However, it is been reported that the risk of getting infected or the risk of an outbreak is minimal as transmission requires close contact with the infected person or the person’s contaminated object, according to the DHA.
Vaccine Information (JYNNEOS and ACAM2000)
Two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available for preventing monkeypox infection – JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM200
JYNNEOS vaccine is being allocated to jurisdictions for use for the following individuals:
- Known contacts who are identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments
- Presumed contacts who may meet the following criteria:
- Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
- Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox.
JYNNEOS doses should be prioritized for those people who are at risk for severe adverse events with ACAM2000 or severe disease from monkeypox (such as people with HIV or other immunocompromising conditions).
There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.