In May 2022, several cases of monkeypox were reported in areas that it was not endemic to, including some monkeypox Philippines cases, raising concerns regarding its signs and symptoms. While the situation hasn’t reached the level of alarm and prevalence that COVID 19 did, this rise of a new disease so soon after such a jarring and disruptive pandemic has driven the general public to raise their guards. To learn more about Monkeypox, its warning signs and how to prevent it, read more in this quick guide.
What is Monkeypox?
While monkeypox is clinically less severe than smallpox (which was eradicated in 1980 as announced by the WHO), there are some symptoms that may be seen as similar. Since the eradication of smallpox and the resulting halt in smallpox vaccinations, monkeypox has now taken the forefront as the primary public health threat under the orthopox family.
The earliest case of human monkeypox was identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Since then, it has been observed primarily in central and west Africa, most frequently in areas that border tropical rainforests. It is a viral zoonosis, meaning that it is a disease that is transmitted to humans from animals. The virus is most commonly found in nonhuman primates, hence its name “monkeypox,” as well as rodents that can make their way through residential areas. Since its discovery and a recent outbreak in areas outside Africa such as Europe, the United States, and the Philippines, more and more people are seeking ways to recognize early symptoms and ways to protect themselves.
If you or anyone you know is concerned about monkeypox and possible cases, you may reach out and connect with our doctors who are well-trained and highly qualified to address any questions you may have.
How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, and when a patient comes into close contact with an animal or person who is infected they may be at risk of contracting the disease. Some of the most common scenarios where a patient might encounter the monkeypox virus are:
- Direct contact with an infected person’s rashes, bodily fluids, or scabs
- Respiratory droplets from prolonged close contact with an infected person for over 4 hours
- Oral, anal, and genital sexual contact
- Skin to skin contact
- Contact with surfaces that have been in contact with bodily fluids or rashes of an infected person, such as clothes and beddings.
- Pregnancy during a monkeypox infection (which can in turn infect the fetus).
Apart from these person-to-person scenarios, there are other means through which a patient might contract the monkeypox virus. As a viral zoonosis, people can also contract the monkeypox virus from infected animals. Some common circumstances through which a person might be infected with monkeypox from animals are:
- Animal bites or scratches
- Eating wild-caught game that has been cooked
- ˜Products from infected animals
- Direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids
Although there are several circumstances that can lead a person to contract monkeypox, there are also active measures you can take in order to avoid it and protect you and your family. One can only truly tell their risk levels of developing monkeypox upon discussing with a medical professional. To learn more about how to get a consultation with a qualified doctor, learn how Eva works today.
Who is more likely to develop monkeypox?
Because it is a viral zoonosis, the likelihood of a person developing monkeypox is directly correlated to their likelihood of being exposed to the virus. Some circumstances that puts a patient at risk of developing monkeypox include the following:
- Identified contact with another patient who has been confirmed to have monkeypox
- Sexual encounters with a partner who has been diagnosed with monkeypox within the last 2 weeks
- Sexual encounters with multiple partners in an area with a known monkeypox virus disease outbreak
- Close proximity to areas where animals that are carriers of the virus are common
When it comes to identifying monkeypox, it is always key to identify risk levels and symptoms to seek treatment accordingly.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox often begin to manifest within 3 weeks since the initial exposure to the virus. Some monkeypox symptoms, especially the physical and visual symptoms, go through phases as the case progresses. Below are some of the most common monkeypox symptoms to watch out for:
- A rash on or near the genitals or anus. In some cases, the rash can also be found on the feet, hads, face, chest, or mouth.
- Swollen or inflamed lymph nodes
- Headaches and muscle aches
Of all the symptoms, monkeypox is most easily identifiable through the distinct rashes that it causes, which may look like pimples or blisters. Some patients may experience all or a combination of a few symptoms, while others will experience only the rash. However the case may be, getting an accurate diagnosis early is crucial because monkeypox will be contagious from the time the first symptoms manifest until the rash is completely healed and a new, healthy layer of skin has formed over it. If you or anyone you know may have monkeypox and is seeking early, convenient, and expert diagnosis, you may check our FAQs.
How is monkeypox diagnosed?
Monkeypox can only be officially diagnosed by a trained and qualified medical professional. In the process of diagnosing monkeypox, your medical provider will most likely take the following steps:
- Assess your health history and symptoms
- Inquire about factors that led up to the symptoms manifesting
- Inspect your rash in the areas it has developed
- Take a tissue sample from one of the sores for testing
- Conduct blood tests for the monkeypox virus or antibodies your body has developed in response to the virus.
What are the treatments for monkeypox?
There are currently no known treatments for monkeypox, but most cases resolve on their own without intervention. Some doctors may prescribe antiviral medicines (similar to those for the treatment of smallpox) as a monkeypox treatment especially for patients who are at risk of complications, such as those who are immunocompromised.
Can monkeypox be prevented?
While it cannot be directly treated, there are ways to protect oneself from monkeypox. The primary way is to wash hands often and properly with soap and water or sanitize with an alcohol-based sanitizer, especially after being in contact with monkeypox patients. Avoiding skin to skin and close contact is also crucial, as well as following proper quarantine methods for patients with confirmed cases to prevent the spread of the virus.
How EVA Teleconsult can help with monkeypox in the Philippines
The prospect of another disease outbreak may be daunting, but that just makes it more crucial for all of us to be vigilant, protect ourselves, and if exposed, receive treatment right away. That’s why EVA Teleconsult’s doctors should be your first stop in managing many different diseases, including monkeypox. With us, you can always expect:
- Timely and even same-day appointments – Your appointments will always start on time, even if you book on the same day, because we respect the value of your time.
- 30 minutes of consultation time – No more rushed visits. You’ll receive a full explanation of your concern, and you can ask any questions you might have about it while consulting with our doctors.
- Five-star rated physicians – Our doctors give their patients the attention and information they need, in a way they can digest. No wonder so many of our doctors receive glowing feedback!
To address any concerns about monkeypox and other health issues, contact us today.