Health Connect – September Edition
To kickstart our new monthly series, we will start off with a topic that has been widely reported in the media recently – monkeypox
Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus, an orthopoxvirus. There are 2 distinct types of the monkeypox virus – West African and Central African. The monkeypox virus from Western Africa is thought to be less virulent. While monkeypox is not a pathogen that we are familiar with in this part of the world that we live in, it has in fact been known to cause disease in humans for many years in Africa and is even endemic in certain parts of Africa.
Monkeypox cases, outside of Africa, have been traditionally linked to global travel, importing of animals etc. However, since earlier this year, the medical community has taken note of the fact that there are cases of monkeypox infections in various parts of the world, with some patients having no known travel history. At present, investigations are underway to better understand this.
Transmission of the virus can be broadly classified into animal-to-human or human-to-human transmission. Animal-to-human transmission occurs when an individual is exposed and in contact with an infected animal’s fluids or bites etc. Human-to-human transmission can occur through close contact and exposure to infectious materials and fluids, skin lesions and respiratory droplets etc.
Most of the time, monkeypox infections are self-limiting and symptoms are mild, though serious complications do occasionally occur. Common symptoms include rash, fever, chills, lymph node swellings, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and more.
Treatment of monkeypox infections are usually supportive and symptomatic in nature. Antiviral medications/vaccinations are currently being explored.
Do refer to the resources from the Ministry of Health (Singapore) and World Health Organization for further information and the latest updates.
- Ministry of Health, Singapore. (2022, June 7). Monkeypox. Ministry of Health. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/diseases-updates/monkeypox
- Isaacs, S. N. (2022, June 10). Monkeypox. UpToDate. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/monkeypox?search=monkeypox&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~17&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H2690330960