Over the past several weeks, most everyone has likely heard about the monkeypox virus that has been circulating around the globe. We’ve fielded a number of questions in the clinic, but wanted to provide some supplemental information regarding this outbreak.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis, meaning that it originated in animals and was transmitted to humans. Monkeypox was first found in a human in 1970, in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Cases globally can fluctuate over time to some extent, but are typically few and far between and exclusively in Africa.
In 2003, the first cases of monkeypox outside of Africa were reported in the US. 47 individuals from 6 states (one of which was Missouri) had cases, all of which were traced to handling infected prairie dogs that were imported from Africa as pets. For the current outbreak, as of August 01, there are 5,189 monkeypox cases in the US (9 of which are in Missouri). The US currently has more cases than any other country in the world.
Monkeypox can be transmitted by contact with infected animals (as noted above) and person-to-person close contact through lesions, body fluids, or respiratory droplets. Close contact with infected persons is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. A confirmed case will typically recover within 2-4 weeks, with an incubation period lasting between 5 and 21 days. Visually, monkeypox presents similar to smallpox, with lesions covering some areas or all areas of the body. Fever, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes are symptoms frequently associated with the virus.
The smallpox vaccine has shown a prevention rate for monkeypox in roughly 85% of cases. Currently, the smallpox vaccine is not available for public use, as the virus is considered to have been eradicated. Individuals who become infected should greatly increase the amount of their fluid intake per day and continue with a regular diet. A medication has been approved for the treatment of monkeypox in Europe, but is not widely available in any country as of this writing.
Last updated 08/01/2022 9:28 AM by Matthew