Monkeypox: What is it, what are the symptoms and how is it transmitted

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An extremely rare disease called monkey pox , “cousin” of smallpox, reached countries in Europe, the United States and Canada. The first confirmed case of the disease in the United Kingdom, which triggered the alert of the World Health Organization (WHO), was reported to the entity on May 7.

Monkeypox is mainly found in West and Central Africa, but cases outside the continent have been seen in Europe, including the UK and other parts of the world in recent years. These cases are typically linked to international travel or imported animals infected with smallpox, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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On Thursday (19), Spain confirmed seven cases in Madrid and is investigating another 22. Italy confirmed its first case. Canadian public health officials announced that they are investigating 17 suspected smallpox cases in Montreal.

Several cases of smallpox in the UK among people who have no known travel or contact with others with the virus have worried local health officials and the CDC about the causes, but there is no cause for alarm, according to US Surgeon General Vivek. Murthy.

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“Right now, we don’t want people to worry,” Murthy said. “These numbers are still small; We want them to be aware of the symptoms and, if they have any concerns, contact their doctor.” CNN .

What are the early symptoms of monkeypox?

There is an incubation period of seven to 14 days, the CDC said. Initial symptoms are typically flu-like, such as fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, and muscle weakness, followed by swelling in the lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and illness.

“One feature that distinguishes monkeypox infection from smallpox is the development of swollen lymph nodes,” the CDC said.

This is followed by a generalized rash on the face and body, including inside the mouth and on the palms and soles of the feet.

The painful, raised lesions are pearly and fluid-filled, often surrounded by red circles. The lesions eventually heal and disappear over a period of two to three weeks, the CDC said.

“Treatment is usually supportive as there are no specific medications available. However, there is a vaccine available that can be administered to prevent the disease from developing,” Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said in a statement.

How is smallpox transmitted?

Close contact with an infected individual is necessary for the monkeypox virus to spread from monkeys, experts say.

Infection can develop after exposure to “wounded skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected body fluids or even contact with contaminated clothing,” said Neil Mabbott, chair of immunopathology at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Scotland. communicated.

“When the lesions heal, the scabs (which can carry infectious viruses) can be spread out like dust, which can be inhaled,” said Michael Skinner, from the faculty of medicine in the department of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, in a statement.

Person-to-person transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets, and because these droplets typically travel only a few meters, “prolonged personal contact is required,” the CDC said.

“Smallpox can be a serious infection, with death rates from this type of monkeypox virus being around 1% in other outbreaks. These are often in low-income settings with limited access to healthcare,” said Michael Head, Senior Researcher in Global Health at the University of Southampton, UK.

However, in developed countries, “it would be very unusual to see anything more than a handful of cases in any given outbreak, and we will not see (Covid)-style levels of transmission,” Head said in a statement.

Common household disinfectants can kill the smallpox virus, according to the CDC.

Where did monkeypox originate?

Monkeypox (Monkeypox) got its name in 1958, when “two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research,” the CDC said.

However, the main carrier of the disease, monkeypox, is still unknown, although “African rodents are suspected to participate in transmission,” the agency said.

The first known case of smallpox in people was “recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, during a period of intensified efforts to eliminate smallpox,” the CDC said.

After 40 years with no reported cases, monkeypox reemerged in Nigeria in 2017, the CDC said. Since then, there have been more than 450 cases reported in Nigeria and at least eight cases exported internationally, the agency said.

An outbreak occurred in the United States in 2003 after 47 people in six states — Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — became ill from contact with their pet prairie dogs, the CDC said.

“The pets became infected after being housed near small mammals imported from Ghana,” the CDC said. “This was the first time that smallpox was reported outside of Africa.”

Michael Nedelman, Paula Newton, John Bonifield, Naomi Thomas, Alex Hardie and Benjamin Brown of CNN contributed to this story.

Source: CNN Brasil

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