Everything About the Monkeypox Virus: Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

by Dr. Arun Wilson

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Symptoms include a rash that appears within a few days, fever, and chills. (Monkeypox has no known therapy) however, it normally resolves on its own. As of June 2022, more than 250 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported in 16 countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is the monkeypox virus?

Monkeypox is categorized as an orthopoxvirus, just like the well-known virus that causes smallpox. Two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in groups of monkeys used for the study; this led to the discovery of monkeypox in 1958. Scientists are unsure if the virus is spread through monkeys, but it is thought to be spread by squirrels and small rodents in Africa. Central African and West African monkeypox virus strains are the two types of this virus. The Central African monkeypox virus is more severe compared to the West African monkeypox virus and is more likely to cause mortality.

How monkeypox relates to smallpox

Monkeypox has a clinical appearance that is similar to smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection that has been eradicated. Smallpox was more easily spread and more often lethal. All countries have stopped using vaccines for routine smallpox for at least 40 years. Unvaccinated communities are now more susceptible to the monkeypox virus infection, while vaccination protects against monkeypox in the west and central Africa.

Is monkeypox contagious?

Monkeypox can be passed from person to person or from animal to person, and it has a much lower mortality rate than smallpox. In Africa, the monkeypox virus is endemic in rodent populations. Smallpox solely affected humans and did not infect any endemic animal populations. Monkeypox has been linked on occasion by the press and bloggers to other diseases such as mad cow disease, Ebola, leprosy, yellow fever, and other viral and immunological disorders; however, there is no scientific evidence for this.

Monkeypox Symptoms

Monkeypox symptoms in people are similar to smallpox symptoms. Fever, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness are the first symptoms of monkeypox. The major distinction between them is that monkeypox causes lymphadenopathy, but smallpox does not.

The disease has the following symptoms at the beginning:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle pain
  • Backache
  • Headache

Following the commencement of fever, the patient develops a rash that starts on the face and extends to other parts of the body in 1–3 days. Before falling off, lesions go through the following stages:

  • Macules
  • Papules
  • Vesicles
  • Pustules/Scabs

Monkeypox Treatment

There is no known, safe treatment for monkeypox at this time. Antiviral medications might help, although they have not been studied as a treatment for monkeypox. Instead, our doctors will keep an eye on your situation and try to alleviate your symptoms. Even without treatment, the majority of people improve on their own. If a monkeypox outbreak affects a large number of individuals, the doctors may also use the smallpox vaccination and other therapies to stop the disease from spreading.

How do you prevent the monkeypox virus?

A smallpox vaccine can protect against monkeypox, but it is only available to persons who work with the variola (smallpox) virus in a lab. Human contact with diseased animals must be reduced, and person-to-person transmission must be limited. Avoiding contact with infected animals is one way to avoid the monkeypox virus. Some other measures include:

  • Keeping distance from polluted bedding and other objects
  • Washing your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with an infected animal
  • Thoroughly cooking all items containing animal meat
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients who have been infected with the virus.


Currently, scientific investigations are being conducted to determine the feasibility and suitability of vaccination for the prevention of monkeypox. Some nations, according to the WHO, are developing strategies to provide vaccines to those who may be at risk of contracting the disease, such as health workers, laboratory personnel, and quick reaction teams. Studies have found that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective against monkeypox.

If you think you have symptoms consistent with monkeypox or smallpox, connect with one of the best hospital in Kochi, Kerala for immediate treatment.


1. Is monkeypox a new disease?

Monkeypox has been around for quite some time. The first human case was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.

2. Can you die from monkeypox?

The majority of those who contract monkeypox will recover on their own. With the current strain, the mortality rate is around 1%.

3. Is monkeypox related to COVID?

Monkeypox is unrelated to COVID. Smallpox is related to monkeypox. It has nothing to do with chickenpox.

4. Is there a way to test for monkeypox?

A health care professional can take a sample of a lesion and send it for testing if you have been exposed to monkeypox.

5. When is a monkeypox-infected person no longer contagious?

A person is contagious from the beginning of the rash/lesion stage to the scab stage. Only when the scabs have fallen off the person can turn non-contagious.

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