What is monkeypox virus, what are its symptoms, what are the differences between monkeypox virus and corona, then is there a vaccine against monkeypox like the covid-19 vaccine, and what is the possibility of monkeypox turning into a global epidemic like covid-19?


Dr. Muhammad Atta Hindus Rahal - a senior consultant in General Academic Pediatrics at Sidra Medicine in Qatar, Chairman of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Vice Chairman of the Institutional Board Review at Sidra Medicine - said in exclusive statements to Al Jazeera Net, that monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease (virus). It is transmitted to humans from animals.

The monkeypox virus belongs to the same family as smallpox with very similar symptoms, although it is clinically less severe.

The virus was first discovered in laboratories in Denmark in monkeys used for research in 1958, and the first human infection was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

The monkeypox virus is transmitted from person to person through close contact with lesions (rashes), body fluids, and contaminated items such as bedding.

Eating insufficiently cooked meat and other animal products from infected animals is a potential risk factor.

The incubation period for monkeypox can range from 5 to 21 days.

Dr. Hossam Abu Farsakh - a consultant in the diagnosis of tissue and clinical diseases - said in exclusive statements to Al Jazeera Net, that monkeypox has existed since 1958 in monkeys, but rodents (especially mice and squirrels) have become the most important source of it.

Dr. Abu Farsakh continues that transmission is from an infected animal to a person, as well as from one person to another through contact or adhesion and the use of its own tools such as towels, through breathing.

Dr. Abu Farsakh adds that those vaccinated against smallpox are most likely protected from infection.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms could be fever, backache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and a rash, Dr. Rahal said.

The rash can appear 1 to 3 days, or even longer after the onset of the fever.

The rash pattern usually begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.

It begins as flat blisters or lesions, develops into blisters filled with a yellowish fluid, and eventually dry and crusty.

How can you differentiate between smallpox and monkeypox?

The main difference between smallpox and monkeypox symptoms is that monkeypox causes swollen lymph nodes (lymph nodes) while smallpox does not, according to Dr. Rahal.

What are the differences between COVID-19 and monkeypox?

Dr. Abu Farsakh said that monkeypox virus belongs to “DNA” viruses, while the Corona virus belongs to “RNA” viruses.

He added that monkeypox becomes contagious after the onset of symptoms, while corona is contagious in the incubation period and before symptoms appear.

As for the speed of spread and infection, monkeypox is very much less than Corona.

Dr Rahal said monkeypox can also be spread by coughing, but generally through large droplets that fall to the ground a few feet away - not the lighter "aerosol" particles that stay high for minutes.

As a result, it spreads far less in people than COVID-19.

Dr. Rahal added that each person infected with Covid-19 transmits it to several people, but some people with monkeypox do not transmit it.

Moreover, one of the main differences between the two diseases is the rash typical of monkeypox.

The rash, by itself, can give us an idea of ​​the transition period.

Monkeypox will be contagious until all lesions and rashes have dried.

Is there a monkeypox vaccine like the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dr. Rahal said the smallpox vaccine could be useful in preventing monkeypox because the two viruses are closely related.

One advantage of the smallpox vaccine is that it can be more effective even after infection than the COVID-19 vaccine.

Is there a cure for monkeypox?

Dr. Rahal emphasized that the vast majority of monkeypox cases will recover spontaneously.

Medications for fever and pain can relieve symptoms.

Moreover, increased hydration is recommended.

In a few cases, pharmaceutical treatment may be needed and there are many approved medications for this purpose.

Will monkeypox turn into a pandemic like COVID-19?

Dr. Rahal said the way monkeypox is transmitted makes it less likely to turn into a pandemic.

However, and most importantly, the precautionary health skills that people around the world have acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic can greatly help prevent monkeypox from becoming a pandemic.

For his part, Dr. Abu Farsakh said that with regard to the monkeypox virus, I do not think that it will become a global epidemic for the following reasons:

  • Its ability to spread comes after symptoms appear on it, not like Corona, which was characterized by the fact that in the period before symptoms appeared, it was the most capable of spreading.

  • Presence of medications that help in the recovery of the patient.

  • The speed of spread is not as fast as the speed of corona.

What do you advise to stop the spread of monkeypox?

Dr Rahal said stemming the spread at the source and immunization remains critical.

Precautions used regularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic can help stop the spread of monkeypox. These measures include physical distancing, avoiding enclosed spaces or crowds, wearing a face mask or face shield, and cleaning hands frequently.

"If you suspect that there are any cases of monkeypox, it is highly recommended that you notify the health authorities to contain the spread of the disease. By reducing the amount of viral infection, the chances of a new pandemic are low," he added.

What is so remarkable about the current cases of monkeypox?

Dr. Abu Farsakh said that monkeypox first appeared in monkeys in 1958 in laboratories in Denmark, then appeared in Congo in 1970, and also recorded in several places during the past years, such as Nigeria in 2017.

But there are reasons that made his appearance remarkable this time, such as:

  • Its appearance and spread in several countries at once outside the tropics.

  • The inability to determine the source that caused this appearance.

    When, for example, it appeared in the United States in 2003, the source was identified as imported mice from The Gambia.

  • After the Corona epidemic, people became suspicious that any virus could lead to closures, and this gives impetus to every news about a new spread of a virus.