In May of this year, countries where the virus is non-endemic reported cases of Monkeypox. Most of the cases reported in May had no travel history to a country where the virus is endemic, namely African countries.
Therefore, since May, the Department of Health the reinforced its monitoring system. The government, through a national decree, classified Monkeypox under the infectious disease that has notification obligations. Through an EPI Info, DVG informed all health care providers about the Monkeypox symptomology and mode of trasmission. Jointly with the healthcare providers, they reinforced the process to identify the suspicious cases and agree on who must execute the required test, where the testing will take place, and what kind of test must use to diagnose possible Monkeypox cases. They also outlined the contact tracing process, quarantine for at-risk groups, and isolation of positive Monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox symptoms are usually mild. For risk groups, namely children, pregnant women, and persons with a compromised immune system, the virus can be dangerous, and even deadly.
Initial symptoms of Monkeypox typically include:
- Muscle aches;
- Swollen lymph nodes;
- After three days, a blistery, chickenpox-like rash or lesions appear, often on the face, hands, and feet. The rash turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs’
How it spreads
Monkeypox virus in non-endemic countries can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infected person. It can happen by:
- Direct contact with respiratory secretions (droplets) when the infected person coughs or sneezes;
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids of the blisters (skin to skin or touching infected clothes);
Treatment and vaccines
There are no vaccines available specifically for Monkeypox virus infections. However, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can offer some protection, but there is a scarcity worldwide of this vaccine. Therefore, prevention is essential. There are no treatments for Monkeypox, only for its symptoms that last between two to three weeks.
Avoid contact with sick people and wash your hands regularly. When diagnosed with Monkeypox, you must go into isolation until you have no visible scabs from the blisters on your body.