Monkey pox is a viral disease that is common in remote parts of west and central Africa. It is a rare and fatal illness and its symptoms are similar to that of small pox.
It is caused by a virus; it is transmitted to humans from animals infected with the virus by coming in direct contact with their body fluids, skin sores, blood, cutaneous or mucosal lesions or by eating the undercooked meat of an infected animal; animals that are carriers or natural host of this virus are monkeys, squirrels, giant rats and rodents, rodents are believed to be the major carriers and reservoirs of this virus.
It can also be spread by coming in contact with an infected person when you come in contact with their nasal secretion, body fluids, blood, skin lesions or lesion materials.
This fatal viral illness was first discovered in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the year 1970. When one becomes infected with the virus, it takes 5-21 days for it to incubate in the body; its infection/symptoms can be divided into two periods:
- The invasion period which after 0-5 days of being infected, the body starts showing symptoms of fever, intense headaches, back pain, sore throat, swollen lymph node, chills, sweats, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and chronic fatigue.
- The skin eruption period symptoms starts to show 1-3 days after the appearance of fever in the body; the symptoms are appearance of rashes on the face then it spreads to other parts of the body including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and crusts.
For now there is no treatment or vaccines to treat monkey pox; but the outbreaks can be controlled and people can take good preventive measures to avoid being infected with the virus thereby spreading it further. In this article we will be looking at how to prevent monkey pox and what to do if your loved one is being infected with this virus.
PREVENTION OF MONKEY POX
- Avoid traveling to places where the disease is rampant.
- Avoid coming in contact with wild animals and if you must eat bush meat, take care when killing it to avoid the body fluid touching you (you can wear gloves, masks and protective clothing when slaughtering the animal) and cook the meat properly.
- If you have pets like cats, restrict their movement; don’t let them go into bush where they can kill and eat an infected rodent and bring the disease home.
- Clean your house properly and make it uninhabitable for rodents, so that they won’t come in and infect your food stuffs or bite you.
- Do not sleep on the same bed with an infected person, share eating utensils and sharp objects or wear their clothes.
- Avoid close contact with an infected person; and if you must go close (like those taking care of them) wear gloves, mask and protective clothing.
- Wash your hands after visiting sick patients and if you are taking care of them wash your hand regularly with soap and water or hand sanitizers.
- If you suspect your pet to be infected with the virus, call the veterinarian and let the animal be quarantined; do not let it lose or throw it into the bush to prevent the animal from spreading it. If your pet dies from the virus, do not bury it yourself; call the vet to do so. If no Vet is close by; put the dead pet in a disposable bag and double it, you burry it far from residential area, dig deep to avoid animals digging it up and remember to wash your hands.
READ ALSO: How to Stay Safe from Monkeypox
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR LOVED ONE IS INFECTED
- Take them immediately to the hospital when you suspect monkey pox or see symptoms close to that of small pox, chicken pox, measles, bacterial skin infection, rashes, syphilis, allergies and swollen lymph node.
- Drugs, small pox vaccine and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) will be given to them to treat and alleviate the symptoms but don’t allow the hospital to use older smallpox vaccines on them.
- Wear mask for the patient if he/she is coughing and you should also wear mask to prevent breathing it in. you can breathe in contaminated air with germs when an infected person coughs or sneeze.
- Feed them with healthy fresh organic food and lots of fruits and vegetables, this will help their immune system fight off the virus; and let them rest properly. Do not disturb them with gist and other distractions.
After taking care of a sick person or you come in contact with one and you start feeling sick, having seizures or trouble breathing, seeing rashes on your body or experiencing extreme tiredness; do not hesitate to see a doctor and when you do make sure you tell him/her that you cared for or visited someone who has monkey pox so that they will take action immediately and also protect themselves; this will also help to keep the disease under control and slow the spread of the disease.
Also be ready to be quarantined; this is to keep you under close watch, to see if you truly have it and to prevent further spread. Also when taking care of a sick person; eat lots of citrus fruits and vegetables, herbs and healthy foods, they will strengthen your immune system to help fight off the virus.
There is no cause for fear, monkey pox can be treated; if medical help is sought for immediately and effectively carried out, the patient will recover.