Monkeys are adorable creatures that can teach us a thing or two about health. One such lesson is the importance of preventing virus infections by staying covered up when around them.
The Monkeypox virus looks very similar to smallpox but doesn't cause nearly as much damage because it usually only affects monkeys rather than humans who catch their own species' version via direct contact (or indirectly through sleeping next door).
What Causes Monkeypox Virus?
Monkeypox is caused when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated by this pathogen. The transmission methods include broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract and mucous membranes like eyes nose mouth which can be transmitted via sneeze droplets during coughing fits.”
Comparing Monkeypox and Smallpox
The most significant differences between monkeypox and smallpox are their origins and the fact that one primarily affects monkeys while the other primarily affects humans. Additionally, smallpox is much more deadly than monkeypox, with a human fatality rate of around 30%, while monkeypox fatalities are rare.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms and include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. A rash may also develop, starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. The rash starts as raised bumps called papules that turn into vesicles and pustules, and then crust over.
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Treatment for Monkeypox
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but the symptoms can be treated. Bed rest, fluids, and pain relievers can help to ease the symptoms. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in order to prevent secondary bacterial infections. Severe cases may require hospitalization in order to receive supportive care, such as oxygen therapy or IV fluids.
Prevention of Monkeypox
The best way to prevent monkeypox is to avoid contact with monkeys and with people who are sick with the virus. If you must be around monkeys, make sure to wear gloves, a mask, and long sleeves to protect yourself from exposure. You should also avoid sleeping in the same bed as someone who is sick with monkeypox. If you think you have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor immediately.
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What does monkeypox do to the body?
Both viruses can cause flu-like symptoms, but monkeypox also triggers enlarged lymph nodes and, eventually, distinctive fluid-filled lesions on the face, hands, and feet. Most people recover from monkeypox in a few weeks without treatment.
Is there a cure for monkeypox?
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. For purposes of controlling a monkeypox outbreak in the United States, the smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used. Learn more about the smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and VIG treatments.
Are chickenpox and monkeypox similar?
Monkeypox virus is similar to the virus that causes smallpox (Variola virus). It is different from the Varicella-zoster virus (a herpes virus) which causes chickenpox.
How did monkeypox get to humans?
Cases outside of Africa have been linked to international travel or imported animals, including in the U.S. and elsewhere. The first reported cases of monkeypox in the U.S. was in 2003, from an outbreak in Texas linked to a shipment of animals from Ghana.
How is monkeypox spread from person to person?
The virus is thought to be transmitted by respiratory droplets during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact. In addition, it is possible Monkeypox can be spread by direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or with virus-contaminated objects, such as bedding or clothing.
What are the first signs of monkeypox?
Contacts should be monitored at least daily for the onset of signs/symptoms for a period of 21 days from the last contact with a patient or their contaminated materials during the infectious period. Signs/symptoms of concern include headache, fever, chills, sore throat, malaise, fatigue, rash, and lymphadenopathy.
The Bottom Line
Monkeypox is a virus that primarily affects monkeys, but can also infect humans. The virus is similar to smallpox but is much less deadly. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but the symptoms can be treated.
The best way to prevent monkeypox is to avoid contact with monkeys and with people who are sick with the virus. If you think you have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor immediately.