CAIRO – 23 May 2022: The British newspaper Daily Mail revealed that monkeypox is usually transmitted from infected animals in West and Central Africa. The tropical virus is believed to be spread by rodents, including rats, mice, and even squirrels.
Humans can contract the disease - which comes from the same family as smallpox - if they are bitten by infected animals, or if they touch their blood, bodily fluids, or scales. Consuming contaminated bird or wild animal meat can also spread the virus.
Orthopoxvirus can enter the body through cracks in the skin even if it is not visible, as well as the eyes, nose and mouth. Although it was spread mainly by wild animals, it was known that monkeypox could be transmitted between humans, yet health officials insist it is extremely rare.
Person-to-person spread can occur if a person touches clothing or bedding used by an infected person or through direct contact with virus flakes. The virus can also be spread through coughing and sneezing.
In the continuing increase in cases, experts believe that the virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sex, although this exact mechanism has not yet been seen.
It may take up to 3 weeks for patients with monkeypox infection to develop any of its warning symptoms. Early signs of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue, which means it could, in theory, be mistaken for another common ailment.
However, the most unusual feature is the rash that often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body, usually the hands and feet. The rash changes and goes through different stages before eventually forming a crust that later falls off.
An individual who is infected with the virus is contagious from the point where the rash appears until all the scales have fallen off and there is healthy skin underneath. The peels may also contain infectious viral material, the contagion period is thought to last for 3 weeks but may vary between individuals.
Leading experts insist we will not see levels of transmission similar to COVID-19 in monkeypox outbreaks.
Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering within a few weeks without treatment. However, the disease kills up to 10 percent of the people it infects. With milder strains, the death rate is closer to one in 100 - similar to what happened when coronavirus first broke out.
The newspaper said all UK cases were infected with the West African version of the virus, which is mild compared to the Central African strain. Cases in Portugal and Spain are also thought to have a milder version, although tests are underway.