Human Monkeypox

Type: Viral

Geography: Central and West Africa

Cases Per Year: 1,000 to 1,500

Fatality Rate: 10%

First Discovered: 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Cases of monkeypox are often found close to tropical rainforests where animals carry the virus. It has been found in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and different species of monkeys. It can be transmitted between humans through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or internal mucosal surfaces, respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects.

The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980. Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, exhaustion, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. The incubation period can range from 5 to 21 days, with an average of 7 to 14 days. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

Most of the deaths occur in younger age groups.

Photo: Smallpox virus, a close relative of Monkeypox – Electron micrograph.