Smallpox was first detected in 1958 when two smallpox-like outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies kept for research. This year, nine cases have been detected in the United Kingdom and another 20 in Portugal
File of a woman and her child, both infected with smallpox monkeys in Zomaa Kaka, in the Labai region of the Central African Republic, October 18, 2018 AFP
Following the United Kingdom on Thursday, the United States reported the first case of monkeypox in a man from Massachusetts.
Massachusetts health officials confirmed that the resident, who is now hospitalized, had recently traveled to Canada, and officials said they were tracking contacts.
While this is the first case of monkey infection in America this year, it is not the first case of infection in the United States. Last November, a Maryland resident contracted the virus after returning from Nigeria.
Earlier, the UK reported the first case of monkey disease on May 6, and since then the total number of infected there has risen to nine. According to health officials, while the first case was found to have a history of travel to Nigeria, for the rest it was not the same.
Other cases of monkeys have also been reported in Portugal and Spain, which has caused concern among medical staff.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same genus Orthopoxvirus, which also includes the smallpox virus that causes smallpox.
Smallpox is a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
Monkeypox was first detected in 1958 when two smallpox-like outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies kept for research, hence the name “monkeypox,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the cases occur near tropical rainforests, where animals that carry the virus live.
Infection has been found in squirrels, Gambian marsupials, dormice and some species of monkeys.
What are the symptoms?
Smallpox causes smallpox-like symptoms, although they are less severe.
The virus could initially cause fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion, the UK Health Agency (UKHSA) said.
Like smallpox, the rash spreads throughout the body, often starting from the face. According to the BBC, the rash changes and goes through various stages before finally forming a scab that later disappears.
The virus can be transmitted from person to person through close contact with an infected patient. The virus can also enter the body through damaged skin, airways or through the eyes, nose or mouth.
It can also be spread by contact with infected animals such as monkeys, rats and squirrels, or through virus-infected items such as bedding and clothing.
“It’s important to emphasize that monkeypox is easily spread among humans, and the overall risk to the general public is very low,” said Dr. Colin Brown, director of clinical and new infections at UKHSA, on Saturday.
Spread of monkeypox
Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded its first human monkey infection in 1970, the infection has been reported in a number of other Central and West African countries, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon. Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
Most cases of infection are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Outbreaks of monkeypox outside Africa have typically occurred due to international travel or imported animals. Cases of monkeypox have been reported in Israel, the United States, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
What is the treatment?
Smallpox vaccination has been shown to be 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox, but there is no cure for monkeypox. Outbreaks are controlled by infection prevention.
With the participation of agencies
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