What is the Monkeypox virus?
The monkeypox virus is a zoonotic virus with double-stranded DNA that causes monkeypox in humans and other animals. It belongs to the family Poxviridae and the genus Orthopoxvirus. It’s a human orthopoxvirus that also includes the vaccinia (VACV) viruses, variola (VARV), and cowpox (CPX). The virus doesn’t spread easily; a person can only be infected when in close contact with an infected person.
Origin of the Monkeypox virus
The first case of the monkeypox virus was recorded in 1958. There was an outbreak of the pox-like disease in a research center where colonies of monkeys were kept. In 1970 when several attempts were made to eradicate smallpox, the first human case of monkeypox was recorded in the republic of congo. Since the ’70s, there have been several cases of monkeypox in Nigeria, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of the Congo. The most recorded cases of monkeypox were found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Transmission and Symptoms of the Monkeypox virus
A person can contract the virus from an animal or human. The virus is transmitted through the skin, respiratory organs, or mucous membranes, even if they are not visible to the eye. Animal-to-human transmission can occur when an animal bites or scratches a person, during bushmeat preparation, or even during direct contact with animal body fluid.
Early symptoms of infections begin to show about a week or two after exposure. It starts with a headache, muscle ache, and fever. You will also notice skin breakout after a day or two of catching a fever. The skin breakout mostly affects the exposed parts of the body like the face, hands, and feet.
Covid-19, according to public health specialists, is the most recent manifestation of global pandemics. Other scientists believe that increasing urbanization, enormous biodiversity loss, and vast deforestation will result in “pandemic acceleration.” The World Health Organization has thus been on its toes to ensure world health and prevent further outbreaks.
Portugal, Sweden, the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom have all reported cases of the monkeypox virus. The United Kingdom outbreak seems to be the less severe type of the virus, but it is still a 1% similar fatality rate to Covid-19. This poses a major concern to people.
Monkeypox is a virus that rarely spreads rapidly, but it recently seems to be leaping regions. In 2021, two travelers from Nigeria to the United States were diagnosed with the virus, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Similarly, in may 2022, a case of monkeypox was reported at a Massachusetts hospital. The patient had just traveled to Canada in private transportation.
Experts are theorizing that once the virus got to these countries firstly via travel, then it spread through the exchange of saliva, body fluids, and respiratory droplets. Epidemiologists are looking into the unique way the monkeypox is now spreading and see if it will be a matter of worldwide concern anytime soon. We can only stay alert as we await further information.