Monkey-pox: What is it and should you be worried?

By Revda Selver

GOMBAK, 27 May 2022: The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the spread of the Monkeypox in 20 countries with 200 cases established and 100 cases suspected, according to The Star report.

Since 13 May 2022, the world witnessed the outbreak of the new disease. The European Union alone announced 118 cases while the US confirmed 9 cases only. No deaths have been recorded yet. 

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which has originated from monkeys, hence the name, and is common in Western and Central Africa. 

It was first discovered in 1958 among lab monkeys, while the first human case was recorded in 1970. 

The disease can be caught by an infected animal as it is also thought to be spread  by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels. Eating the meat of an infected animal that has not been cooked well also spreads the infection. 

According to WHO, it is unusual to catch monkeypox from a human, as it doesn’t spread well among people. Yet touching clothing, bedding and towels used by someone with the rash can transmit the disease.

Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs or getting into close contact with the coughs and sneezes of a sick person will spread infection. 

The incubation period of the monkeypox virus is five to 21 days before the patient starts developing symptoms. Fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion are among the most common symptoms. 

Rash will appear one to five days after experiencing the symptoms causing the development of blisters all over the body. Symptoms usually clear up within two to four weeks and scabs fall off. 

Studies in Central Africa, where people have less access to medication and quality healthcare showed that monkeypox kills as many as one in 10 people infected. Most patients recover within a few weeks, said WHO. 

Patients will usually need to be hospitalised for the sake of preventing the spread of the infection and severe symptoms can be treated easily. 

Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin announced that the MySejahtera app will be updated so that passengers coming from countries where monkeypox is endemic will receive an alert. These travellers would be reminded to monitor for symptoms for 21 days as the incubation period for monkeypox was up to three weeks, he added.

Khairy assured that there are no monkeypox cases in Malaysia and these are only precocious measures to prevent an outbreak.***

Source: The Star 

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