Monkey pox is a viral disease that produces pox lesions on the skin and is closely related to smallpox even though not nearly as deadly.
It was first discovered in 1958 on a laboratory monkey kept for research. The first human cases were diagnosed and differentiated from smallpox in the early 1970s. The virus can cause a fatal illness in humans; the disease can be contracted through body fluids/materials of animals or infected humans from a bite, scratch, bush meat consumption, respiratory tract, mucus membrane, shared utensils, bed and rooms etc. can increase your chances/risk of infection.
When a person is contracted with the monkey pox virus, the incubation period is usually seven to fourteen days commonly but could extend from five to twenty one days.
Signs and symptoms of monkey pox include; fever followed by rash, soles on the face and other parts of the body, chills, drenching night sweats, headache, muscles aches, backache, exhaustion lymph nodes swell up etc. There are no specific treatments or vaccines for monkey pox, but out breaks can be controlled through hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer, avoid ill or dead animals and their materials.
To help control the spread of monkey pox, the center for disease and prevention has listed ways in which the disease can be transmitted. These ways includes:
Contact with infected monkeys: Just as the name implies, monkey pox is mostly caused by monkeys. Human outbreaks are more likely to be spread from infected animals than from a human to another human. Close contact with infected monkeys can spread the virus to humans. Monkeys are sometimes hunted in rural areas and touching an infected monkey even a dead one can make a person contract the disease.
Contact with infected rodents: Rodents like rats and squirrels can transmit the disease to human beings if they are infected. The virus is present in the blood, body fluids and secretions of infected rodents. Close contact with these mammals when infected can increase the chances of human outbreak.
Bites and scratches form infected animals: The virus is usually found in the blood and body fluids of infected animals including saliva. A bite or scratch can cause skin breakage and lead to the transfer of the virus form infected animals to a human.
Eating inadequately cooked meat: In some part of Nigeria, rodents and monkeys are consumed as bush meat. Eating bush meat can increase the likelihood of contracting the disease because a dead infected animal can still contain the virus. As a rule, all meat should be properly cooked as this can decrease the likelihood of getting infected because thorough cooking kills so many viruses.
Contact with respiratory secretions of an infected person: Monkey pox can be spread by respiratory droplets or secretions. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, thousands of respiratory droplets are released into the air. This is why infected persons are usually treated in isolated wards to prevent the transmission of the virus to others.
Contact with clothing of an infected person: Apart from direct physical contact, the clothing or materials used by an infected person can lead to an indirect transmission. The virus can be found on materials like clothes, bed sheets even when the person has removed them or is not lying or wearing them. Close contact with these materials can increase the chances of infection.
To help control the spread of monkey pox, avoid the consumption of bush meat and dead animals. Ensure you always wash your hands with alcoholic based sanitizers and if you most eat bush meat, make sure you cook it more than the required cooking hours.
By Mercy Kukah