The WHO has recently announced that there has been a rash of Monkeypox cases in countries where the virus is not endemic. While not as serious as COVID-19, this virus is still something we should all take note of. In this post, we’ll look at the virus, how it spreads, and what it does to the human body.

monkeypoxImage credit – Pixabay

What are the various symptoms of the Monkeypox virus?

Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face. This rash then spreads to other parts of the body. It usually starts off as a flat rash, then becomes fluid filled, before scabbing up and dropping off. The incubation period, or the time from infection to symptoms, for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.

How does the Monkeypox virus spread?

Monkeypox virus can spread when a person comes into close contact with the virus from an infected animal, infected person, or materials contaminated with the virus.

It may spread from animals to people through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, by handling wild game, or from using products made from infected animals. The virus can also spread from the mother to her fetus across the placenta.

Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. The virus can be transmitted during intimate contact between people, including sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.

monkeypox virusAllergy photo created by stefamerpik –

Why are sexually active people at high risk of getting infected?

Sex is an intimate activity where participants are in close contact with each other. As such, the risk of transmission is higher for activities that require close contact, like sex.

Would sharing of items such as tissue, hair comb, and clothing spread the virus?

If these items are contaminated with bodily fluids from an infected person, there is a possibility that using them poses a transmission risk.

Can I get infected by sharing the same table with infected people?

If there is prolonged, close contact exposure, it might pose a transmission risk. However, if social distancing is maintained, and you have not been in direct contact with bodily fluids, the risk is probably low.

What are the available treatments?

Treatment is typically symptomatic and supportive. Currently, there is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox virus infections. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may prove beneficial and are still being studied.

How long does it take for an infected individual to fully recover?

For most people, Monkeypox is a self-limiting illness, with symptoms usually resolving spontaneously within 14-21 days.

What are the prevention measures to implement in daily life?

Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus, including animals that are sick or found dead in areas where monkeypox has been known to occur. Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.

It is important to reduce or completely avoid close contact with any suspected patients of Monkeypox or from others who could be at risk for infection. Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly.

By Dr Chester Lan, DTAP Clinic.

Dr Chester Lan is the resident doctor at DTAP Clinic, he graduated from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He is also a member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and also holds a Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine.

He believes in holistic care individualised to each patient. This patient-centric approach, along with his friendly persona, has earned him the trust of many of his patients. He sees patients from all age groups over a variety of sub-specialties and understands that building trust and rapport, along with good communication, is the key to a successful patient-doctor relationship.

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