ONGOING OUTBREAK OF MONKEYPOX
An ongoing outbreak of monkeypox, a viral disease, was confirmed in May 2022. The first cases were identified in the UK (currently around 2800 confirmed cases). The outbreak marked the first time monkey pox has spread widely outside Central and West Africa. Since then new and new cases were reported from an increasing number of countries and regions, predominantly in Europe but also in North and South America, in Asia, in Africa, and in Oceania. On 23 July, the World Health Organization (WHO), officialy declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. As of 7 August, there had been a total of 28,781 confirmed cases in nearly 82 countries, most of them seeing their first monkeypox cases.
Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles.
Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
The rash, which can be extremely itchy or painful, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. The lesions can cause scarring.
The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days.
How can I get diagnosed:
You can get tested for monkeypox infection based on a combination of factors, such as:
- signs and symptoms
- risk factors such as:
- exposure to a case
- travel history
If you have monkeypox, your treating doctor will advise if you should be cared for in hospital or at home. This will depend on how serious your symptoms are, whether you have risk factors that put you at risk for more serious symptoms, and whether you can minimize the risk of infecting anyone you live with.
If you think you might have monkeypox, you can act to protect others by seeking medical advice and isolating from others until have been evaluated and tested. If you have probable or confirmed monkeypox, you should isolate from others until all of your lesions have crusted over, the scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath. This will stop you from passing on the virus to others.
How to minimize the risks?
Reduce your risk of catching monkeypox by limiting close contact with people who have suspected or confirmed monkeypox, or with animals who could be infected. Clean and disinfect environments that could have been contaminated with the virus from someone who is infectious regularly.