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Monkeypox Outbreak - Symptoms, Duration of Incubation, and Vaccine Options

The ongoing monkeypox outbreak was first confirmed in May 2022, following a cluster of cases in the United Kingdom. The first case was traced to an individual with travel connections to Nigeria. It was detected on 6 May 2022, with further cases discovered on the same day. Vaccine options are currently being tested for human-to-human transmission of monkeypox. This article explains the symptoms, duration of incubation, and vaccination options.

monkeypox outbreak

Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox

Although monkeypox is not commonly transmitted between humans, it can happen in certain circumstances. For example, in 2003, there was a multistate outbreak of monkeypox in the US, but the outbreak was linked to the import of rodents from an endemic area. However, the risk of spreading monkeypox to humans is low, but it should still be taken into consideration if you are traveling to endemic countries.

The duration of the illness is usually two to four weeks and depends on the clade of the infecting virus and route of exposure. The disease can cause death in about one in 10 people, particularly in Africa, and is more dangerous in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and immunocompromised people. The symptoms can appear anywhere on the body, but the most common ones are fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Symptoms

Since its first outbreak in Africa, there have been increasing numbers of cases reported in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. There are more suspected cases in many countries, and the current outbreak is not associated with any deaths outside Africa. A case in Nigeria in May is the only reported death outside Africa, and that was the result of undetected transmission. The World Health Organization blames recent amplifying events, including raves in Belgium and Spain.

A person can contract monkeypox from an infected animal. The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes. The virus may also be transmitted sexually. There is currently no treatment for monkeypox, but the CDC has made some antiviral drugs available for use during an outbreak. People who are at high risk for serious disease should consult their doctor to determine whether tecovirimat will help them fight the monkeypox infection.

Incubation period

The incubation period for a monkeypox outbreak varies depending on the mode of exposure. Non-invasive exposure involves skin-to-skin contact, and droplet transmission is considered a non-invasive exposure. Incubation periods are typically between four and thirteen days. This timeframe is similar to that of smallpox. It can take anywhere from three to fourteen days to show symptoms after a single exposure.

In this study, researchers determined a range of possible incubation periods for monkeypox. The most plausible was 8.5 days, and 2% of cases showed symptoms after 21 days. The study's findings were consistent with existing guidelines to isolate people from potential outbreak sources. However, the researchers noted that continuous monitoring of the incubation period is necessary in order to prevent the spread of monkeypox.

Despite the fact that this disease is not naturally occurring, the global health sector remains vigilant. Although the virus has disappeared in endemic regions, it could resurface due to an accident or deliberate release. While there are newer vaccines and medications for smallpox, they may not be applicable to monkeypox. In the meantime, WHO is committed to surveillance, preparedness and outbreak response for the disease.

Vaccine options

If you think you or a loved one have been exposed to monkeypox during a recent outbreak, there are several ways to protect yourself. First, visit your local health department for vaccination schedules. You can schedule vaccinations for yourself or your family members as soon as possible after being exposed. The vaccine can prevent the symptoms of monkeypox even two weeks after exposure. If you have not already been vaccinated, make an appointment with your doctor.

Currently, only a few vaccine doses are available. This is a challenge, especially because millions of doses will have to be made for this outbreak. This process will take months, and sometimes even years. In the meantime, however, many people are looking for a vaccine option. Fortunately, Minnesota has been slowly rolling out the vaccine to those at risk for monkeypox infection. And the vaccine is proving to be effective.