Monkey pox is a virus that only affects monkeys in nature. Humans can get the virus if they come into direct contact with the blood, urine, or saliva of infected monkeys, or surfaces contaminated with these fluids.
Researchers have recently discovered that a strain of monkey pox has been infecting humans in Africa, Asia, and Australia. While most people recover from the infection after a few weeks with no lasting effects, it can have more serious consequences in some people. In rare cases, the disease can be deadly.
There are no vaccines to protect against infection from ‘Simian Varicella’ (SV) virus – the type of monkey pox that only infects monkeys and humans – so prevention is key. Here’s all you need to know about this potentially dangerous disease…
Could Monkey pox Be The Next Epidemic?
Monkey pox is a virus that causes pox-like lesions and fever in monkeys. It was discovered in humans for the first time in 1970, when it affected an outbreak of monkeys kept as pets in the United States.
As a result, monkey pox wasn’t initially recognized as a new strain of virus that affected both monkeys and humans. The disease has since been recorded in Africa, Asia, and South America — wherever there are non-human primates.
However, despite being known to affect both monkeys and humans, it is extremely unlikely that you will contract or spread the disease; for reasons we’ll discuss in this article.
But given recent events, you may be wondering if monkey pox could be the next epidemic; especially considering how fast some diseases have spread recently. Keep reading to find out more about monkey pox – its transmission, risks, symptoms, and treatment options.
What is Monkey Pox?
Monkey pox is a rare viral infection caused by a variety of pox viruses known as parapox virus. In its natural setting, the disease primarily affects wild and captive non-human primates, such as the common squirrel monkey, cottontail rabbit, and African green monkey.
Yet, in recent years, it has also been diagnosed in humans. In fact, monkey pox has been reported in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. Scientists believe that the virus is zoonotic, meaning that it is naturally transmitted between animals and humans.
How Is Monkey Pox Transmitted?
The most common way to contract monkey pox is by coming into direct contact with infected animals or fresh tissues. Transmission most commonly occurs in laboratories or when handling infected animals, such as those found in pet stores.
Another way you could contract the virus is by coming into contact with the open sores of an infected person. To date, there have been no reported cases of transmission through airborne droplets or insects.
What Are the Symptoms of Monkey Pox?
A monkey pox infection causes a blister-like rash of fluid-filled blisters on the skin, fever, itching, joint pain and headaches. The rash most commonly appears on the hands, feet, and torso, but can also cover the mouth, eyes, and genitals. The blisters burst within a week and scab over, leaving scarring.
As with many other illnesses, symptoms of monkey pox vary from person to person. While the above may seem like a bad case of the chicken pox, the situation could be a lot worse. Although rare, monkey pox can result in serious symptoms, such as hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), blood and organ infections, and, in rare instances, death.
Is There a Cure for Monkey Pox?
As with most viral diseases, there is no specific cure for monkey pox. Instead, treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and aiding the body’s ability to recover.
With this in mind, you may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections. In serious cases, doctors may hospitalize patients and administer antiviral medications, such as ribavirin or interferon, to slow the spread of the virus. You may also be given immunosuppressants to reduce the risk of organ injury or death.
How Do You Prevent Monkey Pox?
As with most viral diseases, there is no vaccine for monkey pox. However, you can reduce the risk of infection by following safe handling practices when working with non-human primates. If you are planning to work with or handle these animals, you should wear protective clothing, avoid skin-to-skin contact, and make regular hand washing a priority.
This is particularly important if you have a weakened immune system or are undergoing certain types of treatment. That said, if you think you’ve contracted monkey pox, it is important to keep your condition private. Not only will this prevent you from spreading the virus to others, it will also allow people to focus on treating the disease.
Monkey pox is a rare viral disease that primarily affects non-human primates. In recent years, the virus has also been diagnosed in humans. There is no specific cure for monkey pox, so treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and aiding the body’s ability to recover. To reduce the risk of infection, you should make regular hand washing a priority and wear protective clothing if you are planning to work with non-human primates.