What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus. (Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family). It is a viral zoonotic infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person.

How is it transmitted?

Human-to-human transmission is known to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets As such, transmission generally requires prolonged close contact with an infected individual. It can be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens of an infected person.

Who is at risk of catching Monkeypox?

People who live with or have close contact (including sexual contact) with someone who has monkeypox, or who has regular contact with animals who could be infected, are most at risk. Health workers should follow infection prevention and control measures to protect themselves while caring for monkeypox patients.

New-born infants, young children and people with underlying immune deficiencies may be at risk of more serious symptoms, and in rare cases, death from monkeypox. People who were vaccinated against smallpox may have some protection against monkeypox. However, younger people are unlikely to have been vaccinated against smallpox because smallpox vaccination stopped in most settings worldwide after it was eradicated in 1980.

What I can do to protect myself catching Monkeypox?

Following steps to be followed to prevent getting monkeypox:

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  2. Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
  3. Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  4. Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  5. Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  6. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread monkeypox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.

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