Although smallpox has become increasingly rare in developed countries, outbreaks of monkeypox have occurred in some African countries and the U.K. Monkeypox is more serious than smallpox and can lead to death in some cases. Vaccinations against smallpox have reduced the risks of infection. Although some cases of monkeypox are more serious than smallpox and have even been fatal in West Africa, health authorities stress that there is no imminent danger to the general population.
Human-to-human Transmission of Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from animal to human through skin lesions and respiratory droplets. Infected individuals shed monkeypox virus before rash appears, but this mode of transmission is believed to be less effective than smallpox. However, there are few epidemiological studies to confirm this theory. Although there are no known vaccines for monkeypox, the disease remains a major health concern in many parts of the world.
There are no reported cases of human monkeypox outside of Africa, but the risk of catching it abroad remains a concern. Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox outside of Africa is rare, with only one case reported outside of Africa. Transmission occurs through close contact with the infected person’s skin lesions and respiratory droplets, or through fomites and large respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact. The transmission reported here occurred in an HCW who had been exposed to an infected person abroad.
Monkeypox is a contagious viral disease. It can occur in both humans and monkeys. The initial symptoms of monkeypox include a rash. It appears on the face and can spread to other parts of the body. The lesions typically progress through several stages before falling off. A monkeypox outbreak can last anywhere from two to four weeks. In severe cases, lesions can merge to cover large areas of skin. In children, monkeypox symptoms may be severe and can lead to complications, including cornea infection, pneumonia, and sepsis. Among people who contract monkeypox, the fatality rate is one to ten percent.
A family from the United Kingdom recently traveled to Nigeria where three of them became infected with monkeypox. This outbreak could be linked to a sauna or to international travel. Among recent cases, a man from Nigeria traveled to Texas, Maryland, and Massachusetts in 2021 and then later returned to his native country of Canada. While these outbreaks have not caused a death, epidemiologists say this is the largest monkeypox outbreak in the Western Hemisphere since 2003.
The initial stages of monkeypox infection last for 0 to 5 days and are characterized by fever, intense headache, and lymphadenopathy. These symptoms may be similar to smallpox and chickenpox, but the main differences are characterized by similar treatments. If you suspect you have monkeypox, your primary physician will order a PCR test of your skin lesions. However, you may also develop back pain, myalgia, or intense asthenia.
The virus causes multiple systemic consequences in the host, including the skin, lungs, and lymphatics. The infection can lead to skin exfoliation, as well as inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, airways, and lungs. Serious cases may even progress to sepsis or encephalitis. In addition, the infection can cause severe damage to the eyes, including loss of vision. Therefore, treatment for monkeypox is critical.
While monkeypox is typically a problem in Africa, it has also affected countries in Europe, North America, and Asia. In 2003, a monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. was linked to the importation of African rats and other small mammals that were housed with prairie dogs. The virus can infect humans in a variety of ways, and prevention of the disease is essential to prevent further outbreaks.
As with any outbreak, identifying and confirming a case of monkeypox is a key first step in containing the outbreak. There are several methods for doing this, including enhanced case finding, contact tracing, and post-exposure vaccination. Physicians specializing in emergency medicine, dermatology, and urgent care can be key sources of information on this disease. In addition to treating patients, health care providers can provide preventive information, such as handwashing and wearing a protective mask.