Monkeypox virus confirmed in UK; What is the virus, its transmission, prevention, explained

The Health Ministry of the UK has confirmed that a person in the country who recently traveled to Nigeria, has been infected with the monkeypox virus. The smallpox virus is one of the rarest viruses found in parts of Africa, The Hindu reported. The Health Department says there is no need to worry about the spread because as per the medical opinion, the virus does not spread fast in humans and there will not be a severe impact of it. 

Monkeypox however is not as contagious as any other smallpox. Monkeypox is usually found in rainforest countries of central and west Africa.  The virus is an orthopoxvirus where that shows similar symptoms that of the smallpox virus here is a look at those symptoms, prevention, and history.

Monkeypox Virus

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox. ‘ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Monkeypox is a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus. So far, the infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.

Monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus. Animal-to-person transmission occurs through broken skin, like from bites or scratches, or through direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, bodily fluids, etc. “We are emphasizing that this virus does not spread easily between people and therefore the risk to the general public is very low,” Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health Security Agency said.

There are doubts regarding whom gets affected mostly by this monkeypox virus. As per the report by WHO, the animals which are more likely to get affected by this virus are mice, rats, and rabbits. After the first case of monkeypox was reported in 1970, the next happened in 2003 June in the US along with Prairie dogs. 

Symptoms

Fever, headache, Swollen lymph nodes, Discomfort and exhaustion, backache, etc are the primary symptoms of this virus. As per the CDC report, when a person has been caught by the virus, then he would have to go through the uncomfortable feelings and aching of it for atleast 2 to 3 weeks. 

According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children. There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet. The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms. Awareness is important for prevention and control of the infection.