It has become apparent that Nigerians at large should take extra precautions to taking care of themselves health-wise as the sudden breakout of a new disease known as Monkeypox is on the rise. With cases involving the virus recently reported to be in Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, and Cross-River States, here are some vital points to enlighten us about the disease.
- Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- The monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.
- The monkeypox virus is transmitted to people from various wild animals but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission. Infection of index case results from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.
- Human to human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials.
- Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
- There is no treatment or vaccine although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well.
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell while smallpox doesn’t. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days. Within the first three days or more, after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to the other parts of the body.