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What is Monkeypox? Symptoms, causes, origin and pictures

Mirror logo Mirror 10/09/2018 Jo-Anne Rowney
© Provided by Getty A case of Monkeypox has been diagnosed in Cornwall prompting Public Health England to issue a warning.

The victim is getting treatment for the virus, which can be transmitted to humans.

It is the first time ever this infection has been diagnosed in the UK, Public Health England (PHE) said.

The World Health Organisation has the main facts, but we've broken down your main questions below.

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What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that can be transmitted to humans from animals.

It's predominantly found in remote parts of central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests.

© Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial In Africa human infections have been documented through the handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats and squirrels, with rodents being the most likely reservoir of the virus. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.

The causative agent (monkeypox virus) is a double-stranded DNA virus from the family Poxviridae and the genus Orthopoxvirus.

Monkeypox symptoms

Symptoms initially include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash may develop on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

It may first be seen on the middle of the body, then later it spreads to the arms, legs, and head.

Rashes may start as a blister or a raised bump filled with pus and later get crusty, scab over, and fall off.

a monkey looking at the camera © Credits: Getty Why is it called Monkeypox?

The disease got its name because it was first found in 1958 in laboratory primates.

Blood screening of animals in Africa later found that other types of animals also had monkeypox. In 1970 the first case was reported in humans.

Is Monkeypox contagious?

The virus does not spread easily between people.

The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.

The incubation period is usually from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

a close up of a person © Credits: Getty Images North America How is it spread to humans?
  1. Bite or scratch from an infected rodent, squirrel, or prairie dog.
  2. Direct contact with skin sores, blood, or body fluids of an infected person or animal.
  3. Direct contact with bedding or other items used by an infected person or animal.
  4. Breathing in air contaminated with the germs after an infected person coughed or sneezed.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Hives Fast (Provided by Health.com)

Can it be fatal?

Monkeypox infection is usually a mild illness and most people recover within several weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

But in some cases it can be fatal.

How is Monkeypox diagnosed?

  • Blood tests are used to check for the virus.
  • A biopsy is used to take a sample, which is then tested. Samples of skin, fluid from the blisters, or crust from the sores are taken.
  • A throat swab culture is used to take a sample from your throat.
a close up of a green background © Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial What is the treatment?

You may be given medicine to treat fever or pain, but there are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.

A smallpox vaccination may be given to help your body fight the virus.

You may need immune globulins or antiviral medicines if your symptoms are severe.

Doctors will advise sufferers to stay at home so the virus does not spread.

Related: 30 Absolute Best Foods for Your Immune System (Provided by Eat This, Not That!)

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