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MonkeyPox

What is it?

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox, although it is much less severe and experts say chances of infection are low.

It occurs mainly in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests. In those regions, there have been more than 1,200 cases of monkeypox since the start of the year.

Two main strains of the virus - west African and central African - are known to exist, and it's the milder one from west Africa which is now circulating in other regions of the world.

The unusually high numbers of people infected with monkeypox outside of Africa with no travel links to the region means the virus is now spreading in the community.

The UK Health Security Agency says anyone concerned they could be infected should phone NHS 111 or contact their local sexual health clinic, but call or email ahead of a visit.

It is also advising those infected not to have sex while they have symptoms and use condoms for eight weeks after an infection, as a precaution.

 

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, and aching muscles.

Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The rash, which can be extremely itchy or painful, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. The lesions can cause scarring.

The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days

 

How do you catch it?

Monkeypox can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

It has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by close contact.

Guidance is advising anyone with the virus to abstain from sex while they have symptoms.

While there is currently no available evidence that monkeypox can be spread in sexual fluids, people confirmed to have the virus are advised to use condoms for eight weeks after infection as a precaution.

It can also be spread by contact with infected animals such as monkeys, rats, and squirrels, or by virus-contaminated objects, such as bedding and clothing.

 

What is the treatment?

Outbreaks can be controlled by infection prevention.

Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

The UK has bought tens of thousands of doses of the smallpox vaccine and some high-risk close contacts of people infected will be offered one to reduce the risk of symptoms appearing.

Antiviral drugs may also help and the UK has approved one, called tecovirimat, for this.

If you have any other questions or concerns, Forward Care Family Practice is here for you! Please call us at 602-718-1962 to schedule a telemed appointment today to further discuss monkeypox.

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