HEALTH CARE

What is Monkey Pox?

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Pox virus, illustration. Pox viruses are oval shaped and have double-strand DNA. There are many types of Pox virus including Chickenpox, Monkeypox and Smallpox. Smallpox was eradicated in the 1970’s. Infection occurs because of contact with contaminated animals or people and results in a rash or small bumps on the skin.

According to the NHS website, monkeypox is a rare infection mainly spread by wild animals in parts of west or central Africa. The risk in the UK is low, though there have been quite a few cases so far. This infection can be caught from infected wild animals such as rodents (rats, mice, and squirrels); you can catch monkeypox if you are bitten or you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters, or scabs. Additionally, there is a possibility to catch monkeypox through eating meat of an infected animals that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching products from an infected animal, such as skin or fur. Read on to find out all you can on this infection that has been hitting the news lately.

A small number of people in the UK have been diagnosed with monkeypox, though it has been reported that you are extremely unlikely to have the infection if you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa, or if you have not been in close contact with someone else who has monkeypox, such as touching their skin or sharing bedding.

The NHS website has provided a few “Dos” and “Don’ts” for everyone to consider, which is as follows below.

Do:

  • wash your hands with soap and water regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly

Do not:

  • do not go near wild or stray animals, including dead animals
  • do not go near any animals that appear unwell
  • do not eat or touch meat from wild animals (bush meat)
  • do not share bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox
  • do not have close contact with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox

The following are the symptoms of monkeypox, if you feel you may be infected; keep in mind it takes five to 21 days for the first symptom to appear.

Symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

“A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off. The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.”

It is important to call your doctor or 111 (in the UK) if you have a rash or blisters as described above.