Monkeypox: We answered 10 questions you may have about the viral infection

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The most affected by the virus are children.

Monkeypox is a self-limited disease and symptoms usually last between 14 to 21 days. The infection is highly contagious and can be fatal.

Bayelsa's government and its residents are on high alert at the moment. Over the past couple of days, an unusual virus, Monkeypox has infected 11 residents in the state, including a medical doctor.

The patients have been quarantined at the State University Teaching Hospital. Without much ado, here are 10 things you should know about Monkeypox and the Bayelsa outbreak.

(1) What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

(2) How was it discovered?

The virus was first identified in the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958 during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys. It was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 9-year-old boy.

(3) Have there been any major outbreaks?

Since the first case, the majority of cases have been reported in rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin and western Africa. In 1996–97, a major outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is believed to be endemic.

In 2005, an outbreak occurred in Sudan. Four years later, an outreach campaign among refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo identified and confirmed two cases.

 

Between August and October 2016, a monkeypox outbreak in the Central African Republic was contained, with 26 cases and two deaths

(4) How does one contact the virus?

Infection occurs when an individual comes in contact with the bodily fluids, blood, skin lesions or mucus of infected animals. There are documented reports of people getting infected through the handling of infected monkeys, giant rats and squirrels. In households, rodents are the major reservoir of the virus.

(5) What kinds of animals can carry the virus?

There isn't enough research data to say what particular animals are prone to monkeypox. Till the medical community can give definite answers, any animal should treated as a potential carrier, including household pets.

(6) Can one contact it from other humans?

Monkeypox is highly contagious; however, a person stands a greater risk of contracting it from animals than people. Still, the risk of human to human transmission is still present.

This happens when one comes in contact with respiratory tract secretions (such as phlegm), skin lesions, objects recently contaminated by fluids from an infected person.

(7) What are the symptoms?

Monkeypox is a self-limited disease and symptoms usually last between 14 to 21 days. The onset and lifespan of symptoms can be broken into two stages.

The invasion stage, usually within the first five days, is characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, muscle ache and an intense lack of energy.

The second stage is the skin eruption phase which usually comes within three days of the onset of fever. The rashes usually cover the patient’s skin, mostly the face, palms and the soles of the feet.

(8) Can the infection be treated?

As things stand, there’s no definite treatment for Monkeypox. Smallpox vaccines have successfully managed outbreaks in the past. Other substances such as cidofovir and vaccinia immune globulin can be used to control its spread.

(9) Does that mean it kills anyone who contacts it?

Monkeypox can be fatal; however, the rate of fatality is relatively low, usually between 1% to 10%. The infection is more severe among younger people, leaving them more prone to death.

(10) How does one avoid contacting the virus?

The preventive measures are pretty simple. Avoid contact with infected animals or persons. Cook animal meat well before consuming.

Where an infected animal or person is identified, such should be immediately quarantined. Avoid contact with contact with respiratory tract secretions (such as phlegm), skin lesions, objects recently contaminated by fluids from an infected person.

Surveying the situation and identifying new cases is important to managing the spread of an outbreak.



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