- Monkeypox is a viral infection generally related to travel to West Africa
- Recently, the US, UK and Europe have been reporting confirmed cases of the disease
- On 18 May, public health officials of Massachusetts reported the first case of Monkeypox in the US
- UK reported recent cases of monkeypox majorly in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (MSM)
Recently, many countries, including the UK, US, and European countries, have been reporting the cases of monkeypox disease. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease caused by monkeypox virus, generally related to travel to West Africa. It is a mild and self-limiting illness and transmits through very close contact with people having monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks of having this disease.
Monkeypox in the United Kingdom
Since early May 2022, the United Kingdom has identified nine cases of monkeypox till 18 May.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported recent cases of monkeypox majorly in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (MSM)
Early signs of the disease include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Often starting from the face, a rash can also develop and then spread to other body parts, including the genitals.
The rash then changes to different forms resembling chickenpox or syphilis before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
Further, he urged gay and bisexual men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to consult a sexual health professional as soon as possible.
Similarly, as of 18 May, Portugal reported five confirmed cases and 20 suspected cases of monkeypox. Spain has also reported eight suspected cases.
What we know about monkeypox so far?
- It’s a viral zoonotic disease caused by monkeypox virus
- Occurs mainly in Central and West African tropical rainforest areas
- Generally contracted to people from wild animals. However, human to human transmissions also take place
- Vaccinia vaccine used against smallpox also works against monkeypox
- A new generation vaccinia vaccine has now been approved for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox
- Human monkeypox was first time identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970
Modes of transmission
US reports first case of 2022
On 18 May, public health officials of Massachusetts reported the first case of monkeypox of 2022 in the United States. The single case has been confirmed for a male who had recently travelled to Canada.
According to media reports, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is examining a potential case of monkeypox in New York City after a patient with relevant symptoms showed up at Bellevue hospital.
Last year, Texas and Maryland, each reported a case in people who had recently travelled to Nigeria.
Clinical guidance for monkeypox
Based on the recommendations of identified cases from the UK health officials and US federal health officials, there is a need to follow some guidelines for monkeypox. There must be diagnosis of people with an unexplained rash, people with travel history to a country with confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox in last 30 days. Also, people who have had a contact with an infected/suspected person, or men reporting sexual contact with other men must be diagnosed.