What is the monkeypox virus, what are its symptoms, how does infection occur, and what is the monkeypox vaccine?

 During the past few days, talk has spread about the “monkeypox” virus after the World Health Organization monitored 80 cases of the virus in America, Canada, and European countries, which raised the fears of many people, especially since the world has not ended the Corona virus pandemic.

Broad questions about what the monkeypox virus is, how infection with the virus occurs, what are the symptoms of monkeypox infection, and how to prevent it? Which countries are most susceptible to monkeypox and the fact that a smallpox vaccine is available?

The disease is called monkeypox because it was first identified in laboratory monkeys in 1958, and was discovered in humans in 1970.

Monkeypox is commonly found in central and western Africa, where tropical rainforests and animals that may carry the virus usually live.


Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. There are some cases that appear in other regions due to the presence of the infected person in one of those infected countries or due to the transfer of animals infected with the same virus to other regions. So far, no infections from the monkeypox virus have been reported in Egypt or in any of the Arab countries.

What is the disease or monkeypox virus?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral infection, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans, and it can also spread between people, according to the World Health Organization.

Monkeypox is from the same family as the Smallpox virus, which has been eradicated thanks to vaccines and was last infected in 1978.

During the month of May 2022, the World Health Organization monitored 80 confirmed cases of monkeypox in at least 12 countries, including 9 European countries in addition to the United States, Canada, and Australia, and there is no known cause yet for these infections.

How does infection with monkeypox virus occur?

Monkeypox can be transmitted to humans when in physical contact with an infected animal, such as monkeys and rodents such as rats.

It can also be transmitted through close physical contact with someone infected with the disease.

Rashes, bodily fluids (pus or blood), and crusts are especially contagious. Infection can also occur when coming into contact with clothing, bedding, towels, or eating utensils contaminated with the virus.

The virus can also be spread through saliva, so people who come into close contact with an infectious person, including health workers, family members and sexual partners, are at greater risk of infection.

The virus can also spread from a pregnant woman to the fetus from the placenta, or from an infected parent to a child during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue, and a rash can appear, often starting on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally becoming a crust that later falls off.

Complications resulting from severe cases of monkeypox include skin infections, pneumonia, confusion, and eye infections that can lead to vision loss.

How dangerous is monkeypox?

According to the World Health Organization, in most cases, monkeypox symptoms disappear on their own within a few weeks.

In a few cases the virus can lead to medical complications and even death, especially newborns, children and immunocompromised people.

According to the World Health Organization, the death rate ranged between 3-6% of monkeypox cases reported in endemic countries recently, but the organization says that these estimates “may be exaggerated because surveillance in endemic countries is limited.”

How similar is the Corona virus to the monkeypox virus:

The monkeypox virus is not similar to the Corona virus, as the latter was completely unknown when it first appeared, but monkeypox has been observed and known for decades, and there are experts specialized in dealing with it.

Also, monkeypox does not spread easily like the Corona virus, and it is not transmitted through the air over long distances. Rather, infection with it requires close contact with an infected person, which makes it unlikely that it will turn into a global pandemic like Covid-19.

Is there a vaccine or treatment for the monkeypox virus ?

According to the World Health Organization, there are no specific medications or vaccines available to combat monkeypox infection, but it has been proven in the past that vaccination against smallpox (which belongs to the same viral family) is 85% successful in preventing monkeypox, but this vaccine is no longer available. Available to the general public after vaccination was discontinued following the eradication of smallpox from the world.

The British government said it would use its stock of smallpox vaccine to vaccinate those with "higher levels of exposure" to monkeypox.

How to protect yourself from monkeypox?

The risk of contracting monkeypox from animals can be reduced by avoiding unprotected contact with wild animals, especially those that are sick or dead (including meat and blood).

If you have to travel to an endemic country where animals carry monkeypox, any foods containing meat or animal parts should be cooked well before eating.

You can also protect yourself by limiting contact with people infected or suspected of being infected with monkeypox. If you come in contact with them, you should wear a mask and gloves, avoid skin-to-skin contact, and keep your hands clean and disinfected with soap, water or alcohol regularly.

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