Since May 13, 2022, 28 Member States from four WHO regions—the Region of the Americas, as well as the European, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific Regions—where monkeypox is uncommon or has never been documented—have reported instances of the disease to WHO. The African Region has also recorded 1536 suspected cases since the start of the year, including 59 confirmed cases and 72 reported deaths, from eight different countries.
What is Monkeypox?
The monkeypox virus, an uncommon illness related to smallpox but often less severe, is the cause of monkeypox.
The virus was first discovered in 1958 in captivity monkeys and is typically found in isolated regions of Central and West Africa. In 1970, the first incidence involving a human was noted.
Since then, isolated instances have been reported in 10 African nations, including Nigeria, which had the largest documented outbreak in 2017 with 172 suspected and 61 confirmed cases. Males aged 21 to 40 made up the majority (75%) of the population.
How is it Transmitted?
Close contact with a person, animal, or object that is infected with the virus can spread monkeypox.
Broken skin, the respiratory system, the eyes, nose, and mouth are all possible entry points for the virus into the body.
Although lengthy face-to-face contact is normally necessary, the most prevalent method of human-to-human transmission uses breathing droplets. A bite or scrape could, however, result in animal to human-transmission.
Despite being contagious during sex, monkeypox is not typically regarded as a sexually transmitted illness.
What are the symptoms?
Monkeypox’s initial signs and symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, edema, and back pain.
One to three days following the onset of fever, patients commonly experience the formation of a rash, which frequently starts on the face before moving to other parts of the body such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
The rash then goes through numerous stages before the legions scab and fall off, which can cause intense itching.
The illness often lasts two to four weeks and goes away on its own.
How dangerous is it?
Some deaths from monkeypox have been documented in West Africa, where cases can occasionally be more severe.
Health officials underline that no major outbreak is imminent and that there are still very minimal risks to the general public.
Health officials in the U.K., U.S., and Canada advised anyone experiencing new rashes or worried about monkeypox to get in touch with their doctor.
What is the Treatment?
Although the majority of cases are mild, there are presently no effective, safe treatments for monkeypox.
Negative pressure rooms are used to isolate patients, and those suspected of carrying the virus may be kept there while being watched by medical personnel wearing protective gear.
Although there is still a low risk to the general public, the increased notice encourages individuals to stay away from sick or dead animals as well as those who have skin or genital lesions. Additionally, it exhorts anyone exhibiting viral symptoms, such as an unexplained skin rash or lesions, to avoid contact with others and seek advice from their healthcare physician.
Smallpox vaccination has already been demonstrated to provide cross-protection against monkeypox. Nevertheless, as smallpox vaccination programs were discontinued globally in 1980 after the disease was eradicated, any immunity from the vaccination will only be present in people who are 42 to 50 years of age or older, depending on the nation. Public access to the original (first generation) smallpox vaccines from the eradication campaign have been discontinued. Additionally, it’s possible that over time, those who had vaccinations’ protection diminished.
Description of the outbreak:
As of June 8th, 28 countries in four WHO regions, where monkeypox is uncommon or had not previously been documented, had reported 1285 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case to WHO. This reflects an increase of 505 laboratory-confirmed cases since the last disease outbreak news on June 4, 2022, when 780 cases were recorded. No linked recorded deaths have occurred in these four regions as of June 8, 2022.
Among the cases reported in these areas, the WHO European Region accounts for the vast majority (87%) of confirmed cases (1112). Additionally, the Region of the Americas (153), the Region of the Eastern Mediterranean (14), and the Region of the Western Pacific (153) have all reported confirmed cases (6). As more details are revealed, the number of cases changes.
The clinical appearance of patients with monkeypox connected to this outbreak has varied up till now. Numerous individuals in this outbreak do not exhibit the typical clinical features of monkeypox (fever, swollen lymph nodes, followed by rash concentrated on the face and extremities). Atypical characteristics mentioned include the presentation of only a few lesions or even just a single lesion; lesions that start in the genital or perineal/perianal area and do not spread; lesions appearing at various (asynchronous) stages of development; and the appearance of lesions prior to the onset of swollen lymph nodes, fever, malaise, or other symptoms. While it is known that intimate physical contact can result in transmission, it is unclear how the diseases are transmitted during sexual intercourse.