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I’m a monkeypox expert – from spreading it to protecting your family, here are 13 things you need to know

FIRST came Covid, then a mysterious outbreak of childhood hepatitis, and now monkeypox.

It’s the latest health scare that sends shivers down our spines as words like “isolation” rear their ugly heads again.

Monkeypox is the latest health scare to send shivers down our spines

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Monkeypox is the latest health scare to send shivers down our spines
Look out for these seven symptoms

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Look out for these seven symptoms

Discovered in a colony of monkeys in 1958 and later in humans in 1970, monkeypox is a rare viral disease typically found in parts of central and west Africa.

On May 7, the UK Health Security Agency announced that a case had been detected in a patient who had traveled to the UK from Nigeria.

Since then, cases have risen, with community spread and more than 300 cases outside of Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 100 of those cases have been detected in the UK, with one child ending up in intensive care and infections being confirmed across Europe and the US, among others.

The first monkeypox symptoms appeared; what to do if you get it when uk cases surpass 100
NHS 111'congestion' because'anyone who gets a rash' thinks they have monkeypox

dr Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Advisor at UKHSA, said: “We continue to detect new cases of monkeypox promptly through our extensive surveillance network and NHS services.

“If anyone suspects they have a rash or lesions on any part of their body, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service as soon as possible . However, call ahead before attending in person.

So what is monkeypox, who is at risk and why do young men make up the majority of cases so far?

we have dr Amr Bayoumy, a virologist at Coventry University, to tell you everything you need to know.

WHAT IS MONKEY POX?

LIKE the coronavirus, monkeypox is a so-called zoonotic virus — meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans.

“The clinical symptoms are similar to those seen in smallpox patients in the past,” says Dr. Amr. “Monkeypox, while genetically similar to smallpox, is less severe.”

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, meaning it’s a constant presence, accounting for about 9,000 cases a year.

There are two strains, one from West Africa that is most likely causing the global outbreak and one from Congo that is more deadly.

WHY IS IT CALLED MONKEYPOX?

THE name suggests it came from monkeys, but scientists can’t be sure. What they do know is where it was first identified.

dr Amr says, “Monkeypox was first isolated from laboratory monkeys in 1958, hence the name. However, the natural host is believed to be rodents such as rats, mice and squirrels, not monkeys.”

It was first found in humans in the 1970s, not long after the virus was discovered.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM AFFECTED?

THE good news is that in most cases, monkeypox is a mild illness and will go away on its own.

Symptoms begin between five and 21 days after a person is infected and can be mistaken for the flu. dr Amr tells Fab Daily: “Clinical symptoms include fever, headache, lymph node swelling and muscle pain.

“Rashes usually start within one to three days after a fever. Symptoms can last two to four weeks, and in most cases a person usually recovers.

“However, severe cases can be seen in children and people with compromised immune systems.”

CAN PEOPLE DIE?

IT has been dubbed the “cousin” of smallpox, which is enough to inspire fear as smallpox killed millions thanks to vaccines before being eradicated in the 1980s.

However, monkeypox is less serious and less deadly. dr Amr says, “The case fatality rate is three to six percent, with deaths among young children being higher.” This is true for the Congo tribe, while the case fatality rate for the West African tribe is estimated at around one percent.

HOW CONCERNED SHOULD I BE?

MONKEYPOX is “not another Covid,” says Dr. am reassuring.

Unlike Covid, this virus does not spread or mutate as quickly.

and dr Amr says transmission between people is “not efficient” because most people pass it on to fewer than one other person, meaning their R-rate is less than one.

“Transmission requires prolonged direct contact with an infected person or their recently contaminated items,” says Dr. Amr.

“Coronavirus is transmitted by inhaling contaminated droplets.”

HOW DOES IT SPREAD?

IN most cases, a person becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, but it can also be transmitted through close contact with a person who appears to be the main source of this outbreak.

dr Amr explains that this can happen if you touch an infected person’s skin lesions or objects they’ve contaminated “like bedding, towels or clothing.”

IS IT SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED?

MONKEYPOX is not considered sexually transmitted in the traditional sense. But it can be passed through sexual contact.

You are contagious for the disease until crusts that form over a rash fall off. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said more research is needed to “better understand” whether it could be spread through sex via semen and vaginal fluid.

WHO IS AT THE HIGHEST RISK?

ANYONE who comes in close contact with an infected person is at greatest risk.

If you have recently traveled to West or Central Africa, you are also considered to be at higher risk. But in general, Dr. Amr that younger people are more likely to be affected.

“People younger than 40 to 50 years old (depending on the country they live in) may be more susceptible because of the end of the global smallpox vaccination campaign in the 1980s,” he says.

British health chiefs have warned that a disproportionate number of cases have been detected among gay and bisexual men so far.

That doesn’t mean it’s a “gay disease,” TV doctor Ranj Singh told Attitude Magazine. dr Ranj said men who have sex with men (MSM) are not to blame, but it may be that the first cases were discovered on MSM networks.

“This community should be on heightened alert,” he added.

The WHO added that cases in gay and bisexual men “could be due to positive health-oriented behaviors in this population” as many cases were discovered in sexual health clinics.

The WHO added: “Anyone who has close physical contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk, regardless of who they are having sex with or other factors.

“Stigmatizing people because of a disease is unacceptable.”

ARE MY CHILDREN AT DANGER?

A child in the UK ended up in intensive care with monkeypox.

Official guidance states that there are four risk groups for serious illnesses: newborns, children, people with compromised immune systems and healthcare workers. If you are concerned about your child, seek help.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY?

IF you know someone with monkeypox, avoid close contact.

The government says anyone with direct or household contact with a confirmed case should be isolated for 21 days.

dr Amr says: “Avoid sharing bedding, towels or clothing. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid contact with rodents that may have monkeypox.

“In 2003, the first outbreak outside of Africa was linked to prairie dogs, a type of squirrel.”

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE IT?

DR Amr says: ‘Contact the NHS or your GP. Stay home and avoid close contact with other people until you have been told what to do.”

IS THERE A VACCINE?

THE short answer is yes. Studies have shown that the smallpox vaccine is about 85 percent effective against monkeypox.

“The smallpox vaccine is no longer available to the general public,” says Dr. Amr. “But previous smallpox vaccination can lead to a milder disease.”

The government has been stockpiling doses, and close contacts of confirmed patients are being stung in a strategy known as “ring vaccination”. dr Amr says: “Anyone who has been exposed to a patient is given the vaccine.

“Ring vaccination requires full and rapid surveillance and epidemiological case investigation.”

This strategy has worked in previous outbreaks of monkeypox.

CAN IT BE TREATED?

An antiviral drug known as tecovirimate has been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms and infectivity.

It was approved for monkeypox in Europe in 2022, but Dr. Amr says it’s not generally available yet.

Most people recover on their own without serious complications.

dr Amr adds: “The authorities are not powerless against monkeypox. We already have the tools – vaccines and drugs – to control infection.”

Cases are rising with community spread and more than 300 total outside Africa, according to the World Health Organization

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Cases are rising with community spread and more than 300 total outside Africa, according to the World Health Organization
Symptoms can last two to four weeks, and in most cases a person usually recovers

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Symptoms can last two to four weeks, and in most cases a person usually recovers
An antiviral drug known as tecovirimate has been shown to reduce symptom duration and infectivity, but is not yet widely available

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An antiviral drug known as tecovirimate has been shown to reduce symptom duration and infectivity, but is not yet widely available
dr Amr Bayoumy is a virologist at Coventry University

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dr Amr Bayoumy is a virologist at Coventry University

https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5448311/monkeypox-expert-need-know/ I’m a monkeypox expert – from spreading it to protecting your family, here are 13 things you need to know

Jessica MacLeish

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