Monkeypox Disease – What you need to know

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox.

It is defined as an Infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus and characterized by a severe rash. Monkeypox is typically self-limiting but can lead to severe illness or death

Why are we worried?

Monkeypox has been endemic in Western and Central Africa, but it has become of recent concern with the detection of patients in the United States and UK with a history of travel to West Africa but no exposure to animals.

How is it spread?

  1. Animal to human transmission: The natural reservoir is thought to be rodents and primates (monkeys) that then transmit disease to humans:
  • Contact with infected animals
  • Possibly through consumption of infected bush meat

2. Human to human transmission:

  • Aerosol droplet infection (prolonged face-to-face contact)
  • Direct physical contact (infected lesions)
  • Contaminated beddings and clothing

Incubation period

  • Average of 12 days from contact
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Fever- 1-2 days before the onset of rash
  • Headache/muscle pain/cough/sore throat/joint pain
  • Swollen lymphnodes (swollen glands) 2-3 days after the rash
  • Characteristic macular rash starting from the mouth and proceeds over the entire body, that also occurs on the palms of the hands and soles of feet.

Course of disease

Varied mortality rate of 1-10% depending on underlying illness and development of complications. Most uncomplicated cases resolve within 2-4 weeks leaving scarring.


  • Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
  • Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans.
  • For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wear PPE (n95 MASK) if travelling to areas of concern
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients presenting with symptoms and history of travel to endemic areas.
  • Contacts of confirmed monkeypox currently advised to isolate for 21 days.


JYNNEOSTM (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) is an attenuated live virus vaccine which has been used to prevent smallpox disease is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of monkeypox.

However, the vaccine is recommended for persons who have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox. When it comes to treatment, most people don’t need the new products. Most people don’t have a severe case of monkeypox and can be managed conservatively with regular care where it’s necessary. It may be possible to access the new treatments for a very select few patients who may need them.

Populations have become more susceptible to monkeypox as a result of the termination of routine smallpox vaccination, which offered some cross-protection in the past. Vaccination against smallpox with first-generation vaccinia virus-based smallpox vaccine was shown to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past. Family and community members, health workers, and laboratory personnel who were vaccinated against smallpox in childhood may have some remaining protection against monkeypox.


Currently, no definitive treatment for monkeypox is available. The most important thing about monkeypox is that it does cause a rash which can be uncomfortable, it can be itchy, and it can be painful.

So the most important thing about caring for someone with this illness is basically taking care of the skin and taking care of any symptoms that someone might have, such as pain or itchiness. It’s important to know that research over many years has also yielded some vaccines and treatments for monkeypox. Various compounds that may be effective against monkeypox virus infection are being developed and tested.

If you have traveled to endemic areas or gotten in contact with someone confirmed or if you have any of the above symptoms kindly reach out to us via the SASAdoctor app.


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