Monkeypox, what it is and what are the symptoms / THE GUIDE – Chronicle

Rome, 9 August 2022 – “This virus is a moving target and is evolving”. These are the words used by Anthony Fauci , virologist and director of Niaid, the National Institute of allergy and infections diseases, on monkeypox. But what do we know about this pathogen? How does the disease manifest itself and how is it transmitted? L’ Humanitas , on his site has published a guide, edited by Dr. Michele Lagioia which we summarize here.

What is monkeypox
Monkeypox (monkeypox) is a viral infection that is transmitted from animals to humans and is caused by the monkeypox virus belonging to the Poxviridae family (the same family as smallpox). It is so named because the infection was first identified in monkeys in 1958 while the first case in humans dates back to 1970. Monkeypox it is endemic , that is, permanently present in the population, in the regions of the tropical rainforest of central and western Africa. The first outbreak outside Africa was recorded in 2003 in the United States and was an outbreak linked to an i importation of infected mammals . From 2018 to 2021, 12 cases of travel-associated monkeypox were reported outside Africa. In 2022 for the first time, they have been reported in the Member States of the European Union and around the world many outbreaks not attributable to travel or the import of mammals. For this reason, the World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a ‘ public health emergency international and is collaborating with the health authorities of different countries to prevent further spread of the infection.

Symptoms
Monkeypox often occurs as the combination of a number of symptoms, which are fever headache, chills, tiredness asthenia, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, muscle aches . Furthermore, after two or three days from the onset of the fever, a rash and skin lesions evolve into blisters, pustules and crusts.

What to do in case of infection
In the presence of symptoms it is good to isolate yourself and promptly consult your general practitioner who will provide the appropriate indications. The diagnosis of monkeypox is clinical and also makes use of laboratory tests , with nucleic acid amplification tests (Pcr, real time Pcr), generic for orthopoxvirus (Opxv) and, specific for monkeypox virus, performed on DNA extracted from biological samples. In case of infection, the infected patient must isolate himself from any cohabitants and use – where possible – a personal bathroom (as well as not sharing linens and objects of course). The patient should avoid contact with any pet, especially mammals. It is good to wear one surgical mask in case of contact with other people. In general, it is important to maintain a good level of hydration, eat healthily and regularly and rest. It is also good for patients do not scratch the skin and ensure that their hands are always clean, before and after touching the injuries. Other indications are present on the circular of the Ministry of Health which is located Here .

What to do if you are in close contact
Close contacts should monitor for any development of symptoms for 21 days after the last exposure, checking the temperature twice a day and watching for symptoms related to monkeypox (headache, back pain, lymphadenopathy) or a rash whose causes are unknown. Furthermore, it is good to abstain from sexual activity for 21 days after the last exposure or until contagion is ruled out; avoid contact with children under 12, pregnant women e immunocompromised people (and generally limit contacts) until the risk of having contracted the infection is excluded; avoid close direct contact with animals, including pets, for 21 days after the last exposure; practice careful hand and respiratory hygiene; avoid donating blood, cells, tissues, organs, breast milk or sperm while under surveillance. Close contacts asymptomatic who adequately monitor their state of health can continue their daily activities unless specific indications from the local health authorities in fact it is not provided a quarantine regime .

How it is transmitted
The contagion from the animal to the man happens through physical contact with infected animals, including rodents and primates. Person-to-person transmission of infection occurs through close contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash, through the face to face contact , skin to skin, mouth to mouth or mouth to skin, including sexual contact. Transmission can also occur through contact with contaminated objects , such as clothes, towels, sheets, electronic devices, surfaces. The virus can also spread during pregnancy from mother to fetus or after childbirth by skin-to-skin contact. It is still not entirely clear how long people with monkeypox are infected, but in general they are considered to be starting from the onset of symptoms prodromal and until all the lesions have turned to scabs and the scabs have not fallen off, leaving room for a new layer of skin underneath. In the absence of prodromal symptoms, as often happens in this outbreak, it can be considered to start the day before the appearance of the rash. In the current outbreak there is a predominance of cases among men who have sexual relations with men which suggests – also due to the nature of the lesions present in some cases – that the transmission has occurred sexually . However, the risk of contracting the infection is not limited to sexually active people or to men who have sex with men: anyone who has close contact with an infected person is at risk. The use of condoms during sexual intercourse remains fundamental for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, however it is not sufficient to prevent the risk of contracting the monkeypox virus since the infection can occur through any kind of close contact .

How to cure
Symptoms of monkeypox tend to resolve spontaneously in 2-4 weeks, without the need for any treatment. If necessary, the patient will be recommended painkillers and antipyretics. In some cases, the infection can lead to major complications, requiring hospitalization, and can even be fatal. In particular, infants, children and people with compromised immune systems they may be at greater risk.

The smallpox vaccine
The vaccine currently available is Mva-Bn (Modified Vaccinia Ankara, produced by Bavarian Nordic) and is distributed in Europe under the trade name Imvanex . The vaccine is indicated for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox in people starting from 18 years of age at high risk of infection. The vaccination of the entire population at this time it is neither required nor recommended . Instead, it is indicated for categories deemed to be at high risk, such as laboratory staff with possible direct exposure to orthopoxvirus, gay, transgender, bisexual and other men who have sex with men with specific risk criteria reported in the circular. The primary vaccination (therefore in those who have not previously been vaccinated against the smallpox virus or with MVA-BN) provides two doses at least four weeks (28 days) apart from each other. The booster vaccination is instead of a single dose for those who have received at least one dose of smallpox vaccine or Mva-Bn in the past or who have completed the vaccination course of two doses of Mva-Bn for more than two years.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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