Since early May 2022, many countries in Europe, as well as Australia, and the U.S. have reported an increased number of monkeypox cases.
In the U.K., 20 monkeypox cases have been confirmed since early May. As of May 19, Canada confirmed two monkeypox cases and said it was investigating 17 suspected cases.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus that transmits disease from animals to humans. The majority of cases occur near tropical rainforests. It is a member of the orthopoxvirus family and has 2 genetic strains, the Central African (Congo Basin) clade, known to spread more easily and cause more severe disease, and the West African clade.
What Are Common Symptoms?
Symptoms include headache, skin rash, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. The symptoms are similar to those of smallpox but milder.
The incubation period or the time between infection and the onset of symptoms can range from 5 to 21 days, and the disease symptoms can last 2 to 4 weeks. The fatality ratio is around 3-6% and severe cases are more common among immunosuppressed individuals.
How is Monkeypox Transmitted?
Transmission among humans is limited but can happen through close skin contact, air droplets, bodily fluids, and virus-contaminated objects. The most recent cases in the U.K. occurred among patients of sexual health services at health clinics in men who have sex with men.
Previous vaccination with the smallpox vaccine can protect against monkeypox, but since vaccination stopped in 1972 after the disease was considered eradicated in the U.S. Experts said that some concerns exist because new generations, those around 40-50 don’t have the smallpox vaccine.
There is an approved vaccine against monkeypox, named MVA-BN, but is not widely available. Tecovirimat (TPOXX), as both oral and IV medication, is approved in the U.S. for treating smallpox and oral form in Europe to treat cowpox, monkeypox, and smallpox.
Jeanna D. Smiley. (2022, May 20). What to know about monkeypox and the latest cases. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: