Questions and answers about monkeypox

Predominant symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash ,enlarged lymph nodes, muscle aches, and chills. Most patients with monkeypox have a mild illness. Symptom onset is 7-13 days after exposure, but can be as long as 3 weeks.

updated October 1, 2022

Several poxviruses infect humans, ranging from the deadly smallpox to the contagious but not serious molluscum contagiosum. Now more than 30 countries, including the United States are experiencing an outbreak of monkeypox, which the World Health Organization is calling a”a public health emergency of international concern.”

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox, an orthopoxvirus, was first isolated in the late 1950s from a colony of sick monkeys in Copenhagen Denmark. The virus is related to the variola, smallpox, and vaccinia, coxpox, viruses. The first known human case was found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

Where is monkeypox found?

Since routine smallpox immunization ended, most cases have occurred in Central and West Africa. Sporadic cases have been reported in several non-endemic countries, typically in returning travelers.

A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2–4 weeks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
As of September 13, 2022 there are 59,000 global cases and 22,000 United States cases of monkeypox.
worldwide cases of monkeypox as of SEPTEMBER 13, 2022

How does it spread?

The virus is typically acquired through contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids or through a bite.

Human-to-human transmission can also occur through close contact with infectious skin lesions. Direct contact with lesions that contain the virus can easily transmit the disease .

Transmission can also occur through large respiratory droplets, and prolonged face-to-face contact (eg, within 6 feet for ≥3 hours in the absence of personal protection equipment [PPE]).

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Onset of monkeypox infection is 5 days to 3 weeks after exposure.

Predominant symptoms of monkeypox include

  • fever,
  • rash,
  • enlarged lymph nodes,
  • sore throat,
  • muscle aches,
  • chills,
  • headache

The rash is similar to that of smallpox or chickenpox. The illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

How do doctors diagnose monkeypox?

Doctors usually suspect monkeypox based on symptoms, especially a suspicious rash. Testing is done on specimens collected by swabbing monkeypox lesions, but should only be obtained by professionals wearing appropriate PPE.

CDC is working with state and local health officials to identify people who may have been in contact with individuals who have tested positive for monkeypox, so they can monitor their health.

CDC website
This electron microscopic (EM) image depicted a monkeypox virion, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image from of a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions.

This electron microscopic (EM) image depicted a monkeypox virion, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. It was a thin section image from of a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions. credit CDC, Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery

What treatments are available?

Most patients have mild disease and recover with home supportive care, similar to influenza, COVID, and other viral infections. For the seriously ill patient, medically supervised supportive care is necessary until recovery.

The antiviral agents, tecovirimat and brincidofovir, approved for treatment of smallpox in the United States, work for monkeypox in animals and are likely to work in humans.

Can monkeypox be prevented?

When a rash is present, persons with suspected monkeypox should be considered infectious and be isolated until all scabs separate and results of testing are negative.  

Detailed information on infection control precautions to reduce transmission of monkeypox in the home is on the CDC website.

Persons with close contact with an infected animal or person should be monitored for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure .

Detailed information on the approach to monitoring after an exposure can be found on the CDC website.

Is there a vaccine?

The JYNNEOS vaccine is approved for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. It is the primary vaccine being used during this outbreak in the U.S.

The ACAM2000 vaccine is an alternative to JYNNEOS. It is also approved to help protect against smallpox and monkeypox.

Facts about JYNNEOS vaccine 
2 dose vaccine, maximum immunity 14 days after dose 2

Is monkeypox fatal?

In Central Africa, the fatality rate is approximately 10 percent, generally in the second week of illness.

In the 2003 outbreak in the United States, none of the 34 confirmed cases died, although a few became seriously ill, requiring hospitalization.

Exploring the HEART of international health

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

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Dr Aletha

cover image by Jerney Furman

Words about fasting and caring in Zanzibar

What is true fasting? Maybe not what you think.

 
 
“Fasting, abstinence from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes.
 
The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent.
 
Fasting has been promoted and practiced from antiquity worldwide
by physicians,
by the founders and followers of many religions,
by culturally designated individuals (e.g., hunters or candidates for initiation rites), and by individuals or groups as an expression of protest against what they believe are violations of social, ethical, or political principles.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Isaiah 58 , HCSB
 
True Fasting
 
“Why have we fasted, but You have not seen?
We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed! ”
 
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast,
and oppress all your workers.
You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist.
You cannot fast as you do today,
hoping to make your voice heard on high.
 
Will the fast I choose be like this:
 
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
 
Will you call this a fast
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
 
Isn’t the fast I choose:
 
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
 
 
group of people sitting under a tree
relief outreach by CHaRA
 
 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him,
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?
 
 
nurse with boy giving shoes
nurse distributing new shoes to children
 
 © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.

 

CHaRA Cares in Zanzibar

photos by Dr. Aletha during a volunteer trip to Zanzibar to assist CHaRA with their humanitarian work

 

 

a man sitting with hands folded over a Bible

Fasting for the body and the soul

Observed by Catholic , Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, (although the dates may differ) Lent is a time of spiritual reflection, contemplation, renewal, and commitment.

 

Exploring the HEART of faith, hope, and love

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr Aletha

FAITH LOVE HOPE
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love.  
1 Corinthians 13:13                          
 Lightstock graphic -affiliate link 
 
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