Rare Diseases Series – Monkeypox
By Radhika Kumar, MS, PhD, Asst. Prof.
A rare infectious viral disease which is prevalent in Central and West African nations recently was found in the USA in May 2022. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease is caused by the monkeypox virus (MPV or MPXV), a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The MPV is a double-stranded DNA virus transmitted from animal-human (zoonotic) through contact with the blood, bodily fluids, cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals. Human-to-human transmission is possible although limited. The incubation period of the virus usually ranges from 6-13 days. The signs and symptoms include fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle aches, exhaustion, and rashes, lasting for 2-4 weeks. Lymphadenopathy (swelling of lymph nodes) during the early stage of illness may be a clinical feature distinguishing monkeypox from chickenpox or smallpox. The vulnerability was found to be higher in children than adults, but with the global eradication of smallpox and the cessation of the vaccine, the probability is almost the same. The diagnosis of this disease may be confirmed through laboratory testing and lesion samples. Currently, according to Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no specific treatments are available for monkeypox infection, but smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used to control a monkeypox outbreak. The current outbreak heightens the need for continued research to come up with strategies to reduce the spread of an outbreak in the future.