The person infected with the monkeypox virus is under isolation and receiving treatment at the … [+]
Monkeypox is not the type of thing that you should use as an excuse to get out of work or a date. After all, monkeypox is a very rare viral infection that can spread from person-to-person via close contact and could result in severe illness, even death. That’s why someone being diagnosed with monkeypox in England has prompted the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to issue an announcement on Saturday. The UKHSA tends to reserve such announcements for significant news that the public should be aware of rather than things like, “Person has pimple, can’t go to prom.”
The infected person is currently under isolation and receiving treatment at the expert infectious disease unit at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ National Health Services (NHS) Foundation Trust in London, England. The UKHSA didn’t release any details about the person’s sex or age, but presumably the person is human. The UKHSA is also working with the NHS to identify anyone who has been in close contact with the infected patient. This includes people who were on the airplane with the person when that individual returned to the U.K. from Nigeria recently. Most likely, the person caught the monkeypox virus in Nigeria since cases are quite rare outside the continent of Africa, as I reported last November for Forbes.
Again, monkeypox is not something like Bieber fever. You shouldn’t just quietly suffer through it while playing the song “Stuck with U” on loop and sighing frequently. Instead, contact your doctor as soon as possible if you may have come into close contact with anyone infected with the virus. Your doctor, in turn, should notify public health authorities.
Don’t let the “monkey” in monkeypox mislead you. It has nothing to do with the disease’s symptoms. The virus won’t turn you into a monkey. If you do find yourself slowly transforming into a monkey, something else may be going on with you, so contact your doctor or your vet as soon as possible. The term “monkey” instead comes from the virus first being found in monkeys in a research lab back in 1958 but may have become a bit outdated like “groovy”, “mobile phone”, and “Come on, snake, let’s rattle.” Monkeys seem to have little to do with the disease and may not even be a natural reservoir for the virus. It’s not clear which animals actually serve that reservoir role, although rodents in Africa are high on the list of possibilities.
In fact, the “pox” in monkeypox is much more relevant to the symptoms of monkeypox, since they can be rather similar to those of another more severe “pox” disease, the notorious smallpox. Symptoms of monkeypox can appear anywhere from five to 21 days after you first get infected with the virus and usually begin with some combo of fever, headaches, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes, otherwise known as lymphadenopathy, as listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If your first thought every time something goes wrong is “do I have smallpox,” you can always check you lymph nodes because smallpox doesn’t tend to cause your lymph nodes to swell.
These early symptoms alone may not be specific enough for you to definitively say, “OK, I’ve got monkeypox.” Fever, for example, can have many different causes, including a number of different infectious diseases or a lack of cowbell. Once you develop a fever, though, the distinguishing feature of monkeypox, a rash, tends to emerge one to three days later. Most often this rash first manifests on your face before spreading to other parts of your body. These lesions will progress through the macule (flat lesions), papule (raised lesions), vesicle (fluid-filled lesions), pustules (pus filled lesions), and scab (scabby lesions) stages before eventually falling off your body. Usually, you’ll remain ill for two to four weeks (which is roughly one to two Scaramuccis), assuming that you survive the infection.
Of course, the words “assuming that you survive the infection” aren’t great to hear. After all, your doctor is probably not gonna say something like “assuming that you survive your acne.” Monkeypox certainly ain’t a “no worries” illness, since data from African countries have shown that death rates can be as high as one in 10 people who get monkeypox. However, it isn’t as bad as having smallpox. Most people do end up surviving the monkeypox infection without any long term consequences.
Can monkeypox start spreading through the general population? Well, before you start hoarding toilet paper again, keep in mind that monkeypox is much, much less contagious than the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or the flu. You really need close contact for the monkeypox virus to be transmitted. The UKHSA announcement included the following quote from Colin Brown, M.B., Ch.B., MSc., the UKHSA’s Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA: “It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.” The announcement also indicated that monkeypox “is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”
For now the key is to contain the spread of the virus by identifying any possible close contacts and isolating them until doctors can make sure that they are not infected. While the risk of further spread is low, public health officials in the U.K. won’t want to monkeypox around and instead will try to make sure that the virus is quickly and properly contained.
Source by www.forbes.com