Monkeypox (patient information)
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Monkeypox On the Web
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Bassel Almarie M.D.
Monkeypox, also known as MPOX, is disease of a global public heath concern. It was mostly found in West and Central Africa but since May 2022 the disease has been emerging globally. Monkeypox causes symptoms such as fever and chills, and a rash develops within a few days. Symptoms usually resolve within 2-4 weeks but in rare case, it may lead to serious complications.
What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?
Initial symptoms include fever, chills, enlarged lymph nodes, and headache, followed by a rash. The rash may appears genital area (perianal, scrotum and lining of the penis) but also in any part of the body in a form of multiple raised nodules that evolve with the formation of a central crust. Within 2-4 weeks, the rash resolves by scabbing over.
What causes Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused monkeypox virus, a virus that was first discovered in 1958. The first human reported case was in 1970.
- Animal-to-human: The virus can be acquired through exposure to an infected animal through invasive bite or scratch, or through direct contact with lesions or bodily fluids.
- Human-to-human: The virus can be acquired through close physical contact with infected person, direct contact with lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory secretions of an infected person, or direct contact with contaminated materials.
Who is at highest risk?
- Persons who have multiple or anonymous sexual partners and engage in unprotected sexual activities
- Persons who have close physical contact with infected person
- Daily exposure or complex exposure to infected animal. “Complex” exposures (e.g., invasive bite or scratch that breaks the skin).
When to seek urgent medical care?
If you develop fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/ or rash. If you have complaints (including ulcers) in the anal and genital area.
Monkeypox can be suspected based on the clinical presentation and laboratory confirmed with PCR "polymerase chain reaction" test. Swabs can be obtained from lesions, crusts and vesicular fluids.
Treatment can be symptomatic and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Patients with severe disease or high-risk groups may be treated with tecovirimat (TPOXX).
Where to find medical care for Monkeypox?
Directions to Hospitals Treating Monkeypox
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Uncomplicated cases of monkeypox usually resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. In certain cases, monkeypox may lead to serious complications.
Complications are uncommon but they can be potentially life-threatening. Complications of monkeypox include:
- Pneumonia (Inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs)
- Sepsis (Body overreacting in response to an infection, damaging its own tissues)
- Encephalitis (Inflammation of the brain)
- Conjunctivitis (Inflammation of the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid)
- Corneal inflammation of the eyes
- Avoid contact with animals that can act as a reservoir for the virus e.g. rodents, sick or dead animals.
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding or towels, that have been in contact with a sick animal or person.
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid direct contact with skin lesions of infected persons
- Avoid encounters with multiple or anonymous sexual partners
- Avoid attendance specific venues, e.g. saunas, used for sexual encounters