Monkeypox virus: Disease Agent, Background, Characteristics, Common Human Exposure Routes, and Treatment

Monkeypox virus: Disease Agent, Background, Characteristics, Common Human Exposure Routes, and Treatment


A member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, which also includes camelpox, cowpox, vaccinia, and variola viruses, is the monkeypox virus. The World Health Organization confirmed in 1980 that the virus is the main orthopoxvirus infecting human populations since smallpox elimination. In the resource-limited endemic regions where monkeypox is found, clinical detection, diagnosis, and prevention still pose difficulties. Studies carried out before the conclusion of smallpox eradication provide information on monkeypox epidemiology, but additional evaluations are required now that routine smallpox vaccination has finished and there is associated declining herd immunity. To further inform preventative strategies and gain a better understanding of the animal species involved in virus transmission and maintenance, basic ecological studies are also required.

Disease Agent

Monkeypox virus (MPV)

Family: Poxviridae

Subfamily: Chordopoxvirinae;

Genus: Orthopoxvirus


Following the eradication of smallpox in the country, the first human case of MPV was discovered in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo—DRC) in 1970. The first case of MPV in the Western Hemisphere was discovered in the US in June 2003. A single outbreak was caused by tiny mammals brought in from West Africa. Prairie dogs kept in pet stores next to these sick tiny mammals contracted the virus and spread it to people. The variola virus (smallpox virus), the vaccinia virus (smallpox vaccine virus), the ectromelia virus, the camelpox virus, and the cowpox virus are all further members of the Orthopox genus.


It wasn’t until 1970, during the fight to eliminate smallpox, when the virus was identified in a patient in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who had symptoms suggestive of smallpox, that human monkeypox was recognized as a unique infection in humans (DRC). Most of the clinical characteristics of human monkeypox infection are similar to those of smallpox.

1. A widespread headache and exhaustion accompany an initial febrile prodrome.

2. In many cases, maxillary, cervical, or inguinal lymphadenopathy (1–4 cm in diameter) occurs before and concurrently with the onset of the rash.

3. Extra-large lymph nodes are sometimes unpleasant, stiff, and tender. Smallpox was not characterized by lymphadenopathy. Lymphadenopathy may be a sign that the immune system recognizes and reacts to monkeypox virus infection more effectively than it does to variola virus infection, but additional research is needed to confirm this notion.

4. Up to 3 days following the development of the rash, the fever frequently subsides. The rash frequently starts on the face before spreading swiftly in a centrifugal pattern across the body.

5. The unique lesions frequently manifest as macular, papular, vesicular, and pustular in order of appearance. On any individual patient, there could be a few to thousands of lesions. Oral lesions are frequently observed and can make eating and drinking difficult. Digital photos and the Internet are 21st-century instruments for therapeutic consultation because of the unique appearance of lesions.

6. Secondary bacterial skin infections are a concern due to the substantial skin disturbance, and it has been found that 19% of monkeypox patients who were not vaccinated had these infections.

7. Patients’ skin has been seen to be bloated, stiff, and painful up until crusts formed. The patient’s overall state has been linked to the onset of a second febrile phase, which happens when skin lesions turn pustular.

8. Individuals who were not vaccinated (74 percent) had more severe problems and sequelae than patients who were (39.5 percent) Indicative of a secondary lung infection, patients have been seen with respiratory discomfort or bronchopneumonia, frequently late in the course of the disease.

9. By the second week of an illness, vomiting or diarrhoea may start, which can cause serious dehydration. One patient had encephalitis, while another with more than 4500 lesions had septicemia.

10. Ocular infections are possible, they may cause corneal scarring and irreversible vision loss. The most frequent long-term consequence of infection survivorship is pitted scarring.

11. Children are frequently more susceptible to severe kinds of sickness, the average case-fatality rate of unvaccinated patients has been observed as high as 11%. In these clinical studies, the time between immunization and monkeypox sickness was 3 to 19 years.

Nucleic acid: Linear, Double-stranded DNA virus, Genome length approximately 197 kb bp

Physicochemical characteristics: Inactivated by polar lipophilic solvents like chloroform and at low Ph, resistant to popular phenolic disinfectants. The closely similar vaccinia virus is completely inactivated in 2-3 hours at 60°C or in minutes after exposure to 20 nM caprylate at 22°C; however, MPV is more resistant to solvent-detergent treatment than vaccinia.

Common Human Exposure Routes

Exposure to infected monkeys, zoo animals, prairie dogs, and humans through the respiratory, percutaneous, and permucosal routes

Secondary Transmission:

1. Direct contact with respiratory droplets, body fluids, or items like bedding or clothing that have been exposed to a virus

2. Human-to-human transmission occurs within the first week after the rash appears.

• Five generations were involved in the longest reported sequence of human-to-human transmission (four serial transmissions)

• Based on animal import limits put in place in 2003, very low in the US

• People in Africa who come into contact with diseased animals Reservoir and Vector Involvement

• African rodents inhabit the reservoir

• After 21 days, one out of every five samples from an epidemic in the Republic of Congo tested positive. All 14 blood samples taken 21 days following the onset of the rash in a concurrent US incident tested negative for MPV DNA.

The research on asymptomatic viremia is lacking. Continuity/Survival in Blood Products

Unknown Blood Transfusion Transmission: No cases have been reported. Cases/Frequency in Population

• Several outbreaks with reported cases have happened in tropical rain forests close to Central and West Africa, where people frequently come into touch with diseased animals.

• The 2003 US outbreak, which was brought on by infected exotic pets, resulted in 37 cases that were confirmed in labs. Since that epidemic, there have been no cases in the United States. Time Frame for Incubation: 7–17 days (mean of 12 days)

Probability of Clinical Illness

• Additionally, serological evidence of infection has been observed in roughly 3% of asymptomatic household contacts of MPV symptomatic persons investigated between 1980 and 1984 in DRC.

• A substantial percentage of exposed individuals develop clinical illness.

The majority of patients exhibit the typical prodromal sickness for two days before the appearance of the rash, which includes fever, malaise, and lymphadenopathy.

The primary characteristic that distinguishes human monkeypox from smallpox is lymphadenopathy, which develops in nearly 90% of patients who contract the disease. The typical monkeypox rash starts as maculopapular lesions of 2-5 mm in diameter; in most cases, it spreads centrifugally and becomes generalized in distribution.

Skin lesions can be seen on the mucosal membrane, in the mouth, on the tongue, and the genitalia. They advance from papules to vesicles, and pustules, followed by umbilication, scabbing, and desquamation over 14 to 21 days.


It has been estimated that 10% of sick people in Africa will pass away.

Treatment Effective/Available

• There is currently no proven treatment for Monkeypox in humans, but animal studies demonstrate the efficacy of antiviral therapy using cidofovir or an analogous acyclic nucleoside phosphonate.

• In animals, antiviral therapy is more effective in reducing mortality than the therapeutic use of the smallpox vaccine.

Facts on Monkeypox for Sexually Active People

1. The monkeypox virus is the source of the rare disease monkeypox, which can result in a rash that resembles pimples or blisters and occasionally a flu-like sickness.

2. Monkeypox can be transmitted to anybody by close, direct, and frequent skin-to-skin contact, such as Direct contact with a monkeypox patient’s rash, scabs, or bodily fluids.

3. Contact surfaces, materials (such as towels, clothing, or bedding), or objects that have been touched by someone who has monkeypox.

 4. Contact with respiratory secretions can occur during intimate interactions such as oral, anal, and vaginal sex as well as when someone who has monkeypox is touched on their genitalia (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or their anus (butthole). Hugging, kissing, and body massaging.

5. Touching textiles and things during sex that have been used by a person with monkeypox and have not been sterilized, such as beds, towels, and sex toys, are also prohibited.

6. Your risk of contracting monkeypox may increase if you engage in frequent or anonymous intercourse. We are striving to better understand if the virus could be present in semen, vaginal fluids, or other body fluids. Limiting your sex partners may limit the potential for exposure.

What Signs Are There?

You can suffer some or all of the monkeypox symptoms. The majority of monkeypox sufferers develop a rash. Some persons experience a rash that appears before (or in the absence of) flu-like symptoms. The first signs of monkeypox often appear three weeks after contact with the virus. Fever, headache, backache, muscular pains, chills, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, and weariness are just a few of the flu-like symptoms. When experiencing flu-like symptoms, a rash typically appears 1-4 days later. The rash could be on the hands, feet, chest, or face, but it could also be on or around the genitalia or the anus.

Before the rash heals, it will go through several stages, including scabs. The rash may feel uncomfortable or itchy and resemble pimples or blisters. The mouth, the vagina, or the anus may also be affected by the rash. Until the rash has healed, all scabs have come off, and a new layer of skin has formed, monkeypox can spread from person to person. It can take a few weeks.

If you experience unusual symptoms, such as a new or unexplained rash,

Avoid having sex or being intimate with anyone until you have seen a doctor if you have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms. Visit a local public health clinic if you don’t have a doctor or health insurance. Wear a mask and notify the medical professional you are seeing that this virus is present in the region.

If either you or your partner has the disease(monkeypox)

Follow your doctor’s advice for treatment and prevention if you or your partner have monkeypox. Until the rash has healed, the scabs have peeled off, and you have a new layer of skin, refrain from having sex or being intimate with anyone.

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