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Monkeypox | Signs | Symptoms | Treatment | Prevention

Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus and Poxviridae family. The genus includes also includes the smallpox virus (variola virus). It primarily impacts the population of Central and West Africa. Rodents and non-human primates are some of the animal hosts.

Monkeypox is a DNA virus with two distinct genetic classes - the Central African (Congo Basin) clade and the West African clade.

The first human infection was identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The transmission from animal to human is through blood, body fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals. Human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory secretions, infected persons' skin lesions, or contaminated objects.


The incubation period is 6 to 13 days, but it may range from 5 to 21 days. The infection is divided into two phases.

  • The invasion period includes symptoms like fever, severe headache, lymphadenopathy, back pain, myalgia, and severe lack of energy.

  • The skin eruption appears 1-3 days after the appearance of fever. They often appear at the extreme ends of the body. A few lesions to several might appear on the body.


Lymphadenopathy (abnormal in either size, consistency, or number of lymph nodes) is the characteristic difference between monkeypox and smallpox/chickenpox.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the preferred test to determine monkeypox infection.

Anigen-antibody reactive methods do not provide monkeypox-specific confirmation.


Treat patients with fluids, and provide food to achieve the nutritional requirements. The European Medicines Agency recently approved tecovirimat, but it was not widely accepted as an effective antiviral.


Vaccination against chickenpox is expected to provide some immunity against monkeypox.

Raising awareness and reducing exposure to the virus are the main strategies to prevent viral infection.



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