Monkeypox is a type of smallpox and can cause a variety of symptoms including headache, skin lesions, fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
After the first reported case of monkeypox in the African continent, only a few cases were seen until recently. Now, since early May 22nd, several cases have emerged in Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States.
This is even more relevant when you consider how difficult it is to identify and diagnose this virus, with much still unknown about the dynamics of its infection, the full range of symptoms it causes, and how best to treat it. In fact, doctors only have limited information about the virus itself, not just its pandemic.
In a new paper published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers describe the first cases of transmission of monkeypox outside of Africa.
The article talks about the clinical features of this virus and how it can be managed, including administering an antiviral drug which could reduce the length of the contagious period and time of recovery.
The report looks at seven cases of monkeypox occurring in the United Kingdom between 2018 and 2021. In three of these cases, the individuals acquired the virus in the U.K. These represent the first cases of imported household and hospital transmission from Nigeria. In the remaining four cases, monkeys were infected with a rabies variant of monkeypox in countries outside Africa.
“There have been seven confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United Kingdom, until 2021. In recent days, outbreaks in a number of European countries and globally have been reported. Clinical trial data is lacking and this is what we’ve learned from managing this previously rare and sporadic condition.”
On average, the symptoms described in this case of disseminated phlyctenular psittacosis included fever, headache, night sweats, and skin lesions. In some cases, complications including deep tissue abscesses, pain and low mood were experienced by these patients. However, none of the patients experienced severe complications from this infection.
This study found that viral DNA was still in patients’ respiratory tracts long after they had been considered not to be infectious; this suggests that the virus had been spreading from their skin lesions over time.
Small pox treatment to monkeypox (Is it works)
A hospital in Uganda has developed and trialed an antiviral medicine for use against smallpox, which is a common and deadly illness. Tecovirimat was recently approved by the European Union for treatment of monkeypox, which is the same virus that causes smallpox.
The short-term effects of treatment with brincidofovir were not lasting as patients developed side effects.
One person received Tecovirimat and the doctors observed a shortening in the length of their symptom and infectious period.
Although the researchers cannot say for sure whether the treatment directly contributed to these positive outcomes, the results suggest that tecovirimat may have helped prevent progression to severe disease and shortened time spent in hospitals. They recommend a course of 2-weeks of treatment as a way of fully clearing the virus.
Speaking to Osoyoostoday, Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center, noted that “tecovirimat is the most effective known antiviral for the orthopoxviruses, which includes smallpox — now officially eradicated – monkeypox and others.”
The mechanism of action of the drug, and the relatedness of these viruses, suggest that tecovirimat should be equally effective for other orthopoxviruses, but rigorous comparisons have not been possible because of small case numbers,” Dr. Holt said.
The overall results of the experiment were that most of the patients who they observed who became infected with the said virus had a mild illness, and made a full recovery. However, all the patients subjected to this experiment were young, with no existing conditions, and they were afflicted by West African monkeypox. The Congo Basin variant is normally more severe.