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History of Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus. Discovery and Early…

By Staff , in History of Disorders , at July 7, 2024 Tags: ,

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Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus.

Discovery and Early History
First Identification: Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkeypox” .
Human Cases: The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a 9-month-old boy. Since then, human cases have been reported primarily in central and western African countries.

Epidemiology and Spread
Geographical Distribution: Monkeypox is endemic in Central and West African countries, particularly in remote villages near tropical rainforests. Countries with significant reports include the DRC, Nigeria, and the Republic of Congo .
Transmission: The virus can spread from animals to humans through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals. Human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets, contact with bodily fluids, and contaminated materials.

Symptoms and Clinical Features
Symptoms: Monkeypox in humans presents with symptoms similar to those of smallpox but milder. These include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a characteristic rash that develops into pustules.
Incubation Period: The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.

Notable Outbreaks
2003 United States Outbreak: The first outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa occurred in the United States in 2003. It was linked to imported African rodents that infected pet prairie dogs. This outbreak resulted in over 70 reported cases .
2017-2018 Nigeria Outbreak: Nigeria experienced a significant outbreak in 2017-2018, with hundreds of suspected cases and several confirmed deaths. This highlighted the ongoing risk of the disease spreading in densely populated areas .

Public Health Response and Research
Vaccination and Treatment: There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but the smallpox vaccine has been found to provide some protection. In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex), a vaccine for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox.
Ongoing Research: Research continues to better understand the virus, its transmission, and potential treatments. Efforts are also focused on improving surveillance and response strategies in endemic regions to prevent and control outbreaks.

Impact of COVID-19
Pandemic Effects: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the monitoring and management of monkeypox, with resources diverted to handle the global crisis. This has raised concerns about potential underreporting and unchecked spread in endemic areas.

Recent Developments
Global Concern: In 2022, there was a notable increase in monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries, including several European nations and the United States. This unusual spread has led to increased global awareness and efforts to contain the virus.

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