As the globe continues to combat COVID-19 and many nations look for ways to recover from the epidemic, a new virus is making headlines throughout the world.

More than 100 people have been infected with the monkeypox virus in 12 countries, with more instances expected as surveillance is intensified. The outbreak began on May 7 in the United Kingdom, and cases have now been verified in nine European countries: France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden, Canada, United States, and Australia.

Despite the fact that the first case in England was linked to travel to Nigeria – which reports over 3,000 cases of monkeypox each year – subsequent cases have not been linked to Africa, confusing many scientists and doctors.

The current epidemic is unique in that cases have been discovered in places where monkeypox is uncommon, and many of the cases are unrelated to Western and Central Africa, making this an extraordinary outbreak.

The virus that causes monkeypox is exclusively found in tropical Africa. Monkeypox is more usually spread by rodents like squirrels, rats, and mice than by diseased monkeys, despite its name. The virus transmits from sick animals to humans by their blood, contaminated fluids, or animal wounds.

Human-to-human transmission can occur through close contact with respiratory secretions, sick person’s skin sores, or recently contaminated things. Droplet respiratory particle transmission frequently involves prolonged face-to-face contact, endangering health workers, household members, and other close contacts of active patients. Although there is currently no evidence to corroborate this, the idea of the virus spreading through the air is being examined.

Monkeypox was originally detected in experimental monkeys in 1958, but it wasn’t until 1970 that it was discovered in a person. Although outbreaks have been documented in Gabon, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin, and South Sudan, it is mostly prevalent in rural parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first outbreak outside of Africa, in the United States in 2003, was linked to sick pet prairie dogs imported from Ghana and maintained among infected rodents. Since then, small numbers linked to travel have been recorded all across the world.

Monkeypox symptoms include headache, muscle ache  and backache, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. A rash can develop on the face and spread across the body, including the genitals. The rash develops in stages, starting as a fluid-filled blistering rash that resembles chickenpox or syphilis and finally turning into a peeling scab. Most individuals recover from monkeypox in a few weeks without treatment.

Clinical diagnosis refers to a diagnosis made only on the basis of signs and symptoms, without the requirement for testing. Clinicians should obtain a sample of fluid from one of the lesions and submit it to a lab for a PCR test if monkeypox is suspected. Blood tests are less trustworthy than other types of testing and should not be used often.

The monkeypox virus is a member of the “DNA virus” family. DNA viruses mutate at a slower pace than RNA viruses, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, because they are better at recognizing and fixing faults in their genetic makeup during replication. This is critical because it will help scientists figure out why the current monkeypox outbreak is happening – has the virus changed or is it just at the right place at the right time? It’s far too soon to say. The current strain is thought to be linked to a West African virus that causes minimal symptoms and has a one percent mortality rate.

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