Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks, however more severe cases have occurred. In more recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%, according to data from the World Health Organization.
The clinical presentation of monkeypox can appear like that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness. Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the Monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox”, the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) may harbor the virus and infect people.
The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries, however until recently nearly all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs, or through imported animals.
Watch this video from NBC News for additional information...
Monkeypox Cases in the U.S.
The CDC is tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States.While it’snot entirely clear how the people are exposed to monkeypox, early data suggeststhat gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox
While the threat of monkeypox to the general U.S. population remains low, the CDC is urging individuals and healthcare providers to monitor for patients who have rash illnesses that appear to be consistent with Monkeypox. Symptoms of monkeypox may include:
Muscle aches and backache
Swollen lymph nodes
Rash that appears as pimples or blisters
A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus will go through different stages before healing completely. This process can take several weeks. According to the CDC, higher risk individuals might include:
People exposed to a person with confirmed or probable monkeypox infection
People who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party) resulting in skin-to-skin contact.
People who have traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed Monkeypox cases
People who have had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals.
Transmission can happen during sex or other intimate activities, including:
Oral, anal and vaginal sex
Hugging, kissing, cuddling and massage
Coming in contact with bedding or other items that have the virus on them during or after intimate activity.
How to Prevent the Spread of Monkeypox
With Monkeypox, similar to other infectious diseases, person-to-person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following face-to-face contact. You can also potentially contract Monkeypox from animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs, however this is highly unlikely in the U.S.
The best way to help prevent spread the monkeypox virus is to:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus.
Avoid social situations where skin-to-skin contact with other individuals who may be infected is likely to occur.
Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts.
Available Monkeypox Treatments
While there are no treatments specifically for Monkeypox virus infections, Monkeypox and Smallpox viruses are genetically similar. Studies have found that some antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
For instance, Antivirals, such as Tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who have weakened immune systems and who are more likely to get severely ill after contracting Monkeypox.
The Jynneos vaccine (2 dose series) to prevent Monkeypox is now available to at-risk individuals, gay, bisexual, and other men (ages 18 and older) who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days are eligible to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine is only available at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic, 303 Ninth Avenue, Manhattan. The clinic is available for monkeypox vaccinations on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Appointments are recommended, but a limited number of walk-ins will be accepted.
Vaccination is free and available regardless of immigration status.
This vaccine requires two doses, four weeks apart. Full protection does not occur until two weeks after the second dose.
JYNNEOSTM (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) is an attenuated live virus vaccine which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of monkeypox. On November 3, 2021, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend JYNNEOS pre-exposure prophylaxis as an alternative to ACAM2000 for certain persons at risk for exposure to orthopoxviruses.