WanaData Africa
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WanaData Africa

What you need to know about Monkeypox- Part 1

By Gbemisola Esho

Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease with symptoms similar to smallpox. The disease is predominantly found in Central and West Africa.

Common symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes enlarged lymph nodes. The disease carriers are also affected by rashes that can lead to red bumps on the skin, affecting hands, feet, face, mouth, or even genitals.

The first outbreak of Monkeypox occurred in 1958 at a monkey colony where the animals were confined for research purposes, which informed the origin of the name. The first human case was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970 before spreading to other central and western African countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Central African Republic, Congo, South Sudan, and Sierra Leone.

Like other zoonotic diseases, Monkeypox takes the course of zoonosis. Zoonosis is a term used to describe infections transmissible from animals to humans.

In this case, when a zoonosis transfer occurs, a cycle is created, from humans to livestock and wildlife, as demonstrated below:

In the cycle, there are the natural hosts, intermediate and secondary hosts. Wildlife is the natural host for the germ; domestic or farm animals act as intermediate hosts, and the secondary and final hosts are human beings in what is termed Virus reservoirs.

In the cycle, there are the natural hosts, intermediate and secondary hosts. Wildlife is the natural host for the germ; domestic or farm animals act as intermediate hosts, and the secondary and final hosts are human beings in what is termed Virus reservoirs.

A reservoir could host the virus and be asymptomatic, for example, birds like Avian influenza and Bats with Ebola. Notably, various activities can contribute to the spread and outbreak of the disease. The attack occurs when there is a disturbance in the balance of the ecosystem when humans consume the infected animals, cutting down trees, air travel, and external factors like climate change.

The transfer occurs more and faster with direct contact, and an observed rise in infectious disease has been witnessed recently, with the highest confirmed cases in the following countries.

Monkeypox has now spread to 89 countries, with Europe and North America accounting for the highest share. Although the mortality is low, Monkeypox is now regarded as a Public health emergency PHEIC. There are 45,000 confirmed cases by writing, with initial cluster cases first noticed in the United Kingdom.

It is worth pointing out that there are two Monkeypox types; Clade I for central Africa (Congo Basin) and Clade II for West Africa. Additionally, Monkeypox is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to a classification Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family.

Nigeria’s last reported Monkeypox case was in the 1970s before the 2017 outbreak. The 2017 Nigerian outbreak is the largest documented outbreak of the West African clade.

The rising cases of the disease affirm the suspicion of experts that the virus can mutate and form new variants that spread faster.

Notably, Monkeypox is not new in Africa; the current strain is endemic and has spread to four countries with 1,405 endemic cases with 62 deaths during the first five months of 2022. The case fatality rate in the four African countries combined was 4.4%.

Although the disease can affect any person, those vulnerable are likely people in regular contact with animals and who come in contact with infected persons. At the same time, the ongoing outbreak has been narrowed down to men who have sex with other men. The virus has a semblance to sexually transmitted diseases.

Measures have been put in place by the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control in different countries to sensitise communities considering that misinformation is affecting the management of the disease.

Furthermore, vaccines similar to those managing smallpox have been rolled. The vaccines contain vaccinia, such as Imvanex (Jynneos) and ACAM2000, which have a trusted potency and effectiveness above 80% against Monkeypox.

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