Monkeypox: What we know about the virus discovered in London

UK health officials have confirmed a case of monkeypox in a person who recently came from Nigeria. This is a rare viral infection associated with smallpox.

The UKHSA said on Saturday that the patient was being treated by a specialist in the isolation ward at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

UKHSA did not provide details of the person’s gender or age, but said it was working to identify everyone who had close contact with the infected patient, including those who had traveled on the same flight.

What are the symptoms caused by monkeypox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, a disease that was eradicated in 1980. However, monkeypox is less transmissible and causes milder and less lethal symptoms.

The illness usually lasts two to four weeks, and symptoms can appear between five and 21 days after infection.

Symptoms of monkeypox usually begin with a combination of fever, headache, muscle and back aches, chills, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

Doctors usually use the latter symptoms to distinguish monkeypox from smallpox, or smallpox, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Once you have a fever, one to three days later, the main feature of monkeypox develops: an ugly rash that often begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.

The number of vesicles can range from a few to thousands.

They go through some kind of maturation process ranging from blemishes (flat lesions) to papules (raised lesions), vesicles (fluid-filled lesions), and pustules (pus-filled lesions) to scabs (squamous lesions) before eventually falling off.

Why is it called monkeypox?

Monkeypox virus belongs to the genus orthopoxvirus of the family Poxviridae. It was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of smallpox-like disease occurred in lab monkeys kept for research, hence the name.

But it is unlikely that monkeys were responsible for the outbreak. The natural origin of monkeypox remains unknown, although the World Health Organization believes that rodents are the most likely cause.

“Evidence of monkeypox virus infection has been found in many animals in Africa, including rope and tree squirrels, gambian brown rats, dormouse and various species of monkeys,” the UN health agency said.

Where does monkeypox occur?

Monkeypox in humans occurs primarily in the tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa; The virus does not usually occur in Europe.

The first human case of monkeypox was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

Since then, cases have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

The first reported spread of monkeypox outside of Africa was linked to imports of infected mammals into the United States in 2003, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Recently, two travelers from the UK, one from Israel and one from Singapore, who had previously visited Nigeria, were diagnosed with monkeypox in 2018 and 2019. The African country previously had a major outbreak, according to the European Health Agency, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

How do you get monkeypox?

You can become infected by being bitten or scratched by an infected animal, by eating bushmeat, direct contact with an infected person, or by touching contaminated bedding or clothing.

The virus enters the body through infections of the skin, respiratory tract, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth).

Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets, which typically cannot travel more than a few metres, requiring long-term direct contact.

Should we be concerned?

According to the UKHSA in its statement confirming the case, monkeypox “is a mild disease that resolves on its own, from which most people recover within a few weeks”.

Dr. said. Colin Brown, acting director of clinical and emerging infections.

Although monkeypox symptoms are milder than those of smallpox, according to the World Health Organization, it kills up to 11% of infected patients, compared to about 30% for smallpox.

The mortality rate is higher among children and young adults, and immunocompromised individuals are especially at risk of developing serious illness.

Treatment and prevention

There is currently no specific treatment for monkeypox, and the disease usually clears up on its own.

Smallpox vaccination is a very effective way to prevent monkeypox. However, since the eradication of smallpox was declared more than 40 years ago, the first generation of smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public.

A new vaccine developed by the Bavarian company Nordic to prevent smallpox and monkeypox has been approved in the European Union, the United States and Canada (under the trade names Imvanex, Jynneos and Imvamune), and antiviral drugs are also being developed.

Leave a Comment