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  • What are the Monkeypox symptoms – and how deadly is the virus?

    What are the Monkeypox symptoms – and how deadly is the virus?

    Out of the frying pan, and into whatever fresh hell this appears to be: A worldwide outbreak of Monkeypox has caused a few jitters this month, after a strain of the rare virus embedded itself in a number of non-endemic countries. Scores of people are now experiencing the symptoms.

    Will Monkeypox arrive in South Africa?

    The planet is only just starting to move on from the traumatic lockdowns caused by COVID-19, and with a war raging on in Ukraine, the emergence of yet another fast-spreading disease is the last thing any of us needed.

    Monkeypox is yet to be discovered in South Africa, but the experts believe it is merely ‘a matter of time’. According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), the risk of importation is an undeniable reality.

    What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially produced a list of symptoms for individuals who contract Monkeypox:

    • Continuous fever.
    • Intense headaches.
    • Swelling of lymph nodes.
    • Back pain.
    • Muscle aches.
    • Serious fatigue.
    • Outbreaks of rashes and bumps on the skin, resembling something like measles or chickenpox.
    • These skin eruptions occur mainly on the hands, feet, and face.

    How does this thing spread?

    Is there any need to worry? Not really. The NICD don’t seem too troubled by this outbreak, and they explain that Monkeypox is a ‘self-limiting disease’. Therefore, it shouldn’t have the ability to disrupt the world in the same way COVID-19 did.

    In their latest guidance, the WHO confirmed that this emerging virus is largely transmitted through close contact with an infected person. Sexual transmission is a high-risk factor, but it’s not yet been established if this is the ONLY way to catch Monkeypox.

    “Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects. Transmission via droplet respiratory particles usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact.”

    “This puts health workers, household members and other close contacts of active cases at greater risk. Close physical contact is a well-known risk factor for transmission. It *might* be transmitted specifically through sexual contact, but more studies are needed.”

    WHO statement

    What is the current fatality rate?

    You may have seen some fairly scary headlines over the past few days, with some sources suggesting that Monkeypox ‘can kill around 10% of those who become infected’. However, that only applies to one strain reported years ago – it’s since been established that a more mild version is currently in circulation.

    Rodney Rhode is the Regents’ Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science at Texas State University. The microbiologist has confirmed that the current mutation doing the rounds has a very small fatality rate, killing ‘fewer than 1%’ of those who become infected.

    “Overall, symptoms usually last for two to four weeks, while skin lesions usually scab over in 14 to 21 days. Monkeypox is rare and usually non-fatal – and the form of the virus currently circulating is thought to be milder, with a fatality rate of under 1%.”

    Professor Rodney Rohde

    View the full article



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