What Causes Monkey pox?

Monkey pox

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, the same family of viruses as smallpox. The disease is primarily zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. The natural reservoirs of monkeypox are suspected to be small mammals and rodents in forested regions of Central and West Africa.

Transmission to humans usually occurs through direct contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids, such as blood, respiratory secretions, or lesions. Human-to-human transmission is also possible through respiratory droplets, contact with infected bodily fluids, and contaminated objects.

Here are some common modes of transmission:

  • Direct contact with infected animals: People can get infected by handling or coming into contact with infected animals, such as rodents, prairie dogs, squirrels, and other small mammals, either in the wild or in captivity.
  • Person-to-person transmission: Human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets during close contact with an infected person, through contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects, or through respiratory secretions.
  • Zoonotic transmission: The virus can spill over from its animal hosts to humans who are in close proximity to infected animals or their habitats, such as in hunting, trapping, or farming activities.

Signs and symptoms of monkeypox in humans are similar to those of smallpox but are generally milder. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash that typically progresses through different stages. While monkeypox is less severe than smallpox, it can still cause serious complications in some cases.

Prevention measures for monkeypox include avoiding contact with wild animals or their suspected reservoirs, practicing good hygiene, and maintaining proper infection control procedures in healthcare settings when dealing with suspected cases. In some regions, vaccination may be available for certain high-risk groups, although it is not as widely used as smallpox vaccination due to the rarity of monkeypox cases. If someone suspects they have been exposed to monkeypox or shows symptoms of the disease, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly.