Monkeypox is a rare illness that causes chills, rash, and fever. This illness is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same group of viruses as smallpox.  Monkeypox is a common disease in African countries. In  July 2022, the World Health Organization declared Monkeypox a global health emergency . Monkeypox may spread from one person to another through very close contact or by touching body fluids of a person with monkeypox. 

Symptoms of monkeypox

The sign of monkeypox virus is how the rash looks. However, it may be several days or a few weeks before you develop symptoms. 

Monkeypox symptoms may start 5 to 21 days after you’re exposed. The time between when you’re exposed and when you have symptoms is called the incubation period.

Here are common monkeypox symptoms:

  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • Cough

What are the stages of Rash?

  1. Macules

Macules is a discolored are or flat area of the skin with pink spot

  1. Papules

Papules is when flat with pink spot area change to a small bump

  1. Vesicles

This is the next stage when the bump is filled with fluid that creates a bubble-like sac. It is also known as blister and this is a similar rash caused by allergy, bacterial infections or chicken pox.

  1. Pustules

This stage is when a clear fluid bump changes to enlarged us bump white white or yellow pus filled. This can last for about a week or more.

  1. Scabs

The last stage of monkeypox is when the bump starts to crust and turn to scabs. This stage lasts for a week before it flakes off.

If you have a new rash or any of these symptoms, please seek help from your healthcare provider.

How is monkeypox diagnosed?

Because monkeypox is rare, a healthcare provider may first suspect other rash illnesses, such as chickenpox or measles Swollen lymph nodes often distinguish monkeypox from other types of rash or poxes.

To diagnose monkeypox, your healthcare provider takes a swab of the open sore. The swab is then sent to a lab to test  polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing (genetic fingerprinting).

Can monkeypox be treated?

Monkeypox vaccines are available. Eligible patients are recommended to get vaccinated. After vaccination, patients are urged to take care of themselves to avoid catching and spreading monkeypox. The full recovery period could take up to a few weeks as it takes time to develop immunity after vaccination. Other than that,  vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox but is no longer routinely available following global smallpox eradication. Post vaccination may help prevent the disease or reduce its severity. Prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course. 

Precautionary measures

  • Monitor your health and maintain a good personal hygiene
  • Avoid contact with persons who are unwell 
  • Avoid high-risk sexual activity, such as having multiple sex partners or casual sex
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, clothing, bedding, towels, or personal grooming devices.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you develop symptoms such as sudden high fever, swollen lymph nodes or rash

In summary, If you think you might have symptoms of monkeypox please seek support from your healthcare provider. Wear a mask when you are at a public area  and do maintain distance from others.If you have questions about monkeypox chat with Whatsdoc clinicians and get your medical support.