What is Monkeypox?

The recent outbreak of monkeypox in many African and Non-African nations attracted many people’s attention. According to a report from, at least 160 confirmed cases have been reported in non-African countries. Monkeypox is a viral disease caused by a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus. The monkeypox virus belongs to the family poxviridae and the genus Orthopoxvirus. The hosts of this virus include many rodents like squirrels, rats, dormice, and non-human primates.

Where monkeypox start?

The first human monkeypox outbreak was identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, most of the attacks have been reported from the rural areas of central and west Africa and the rainforest regions of the Congo Basin.

Transmission of Monkeypox

It is a zoonotic disease that shows transmission from an animal host to a human. It can occur when a person comes in direct contact with infected animals’ blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Human-to-human transmission can also occur from direct contact from coming in contact with contaminated objects. Prolonged face-to-face contact can also cause its transmission.

Symptoms of Monkeypox

The onset of symptoms (incubation period) can take 5 to 21 days. The infection can be divided into two phases. First, the invasion period lasts between 0-5 days and is characterized by fever, headache, muscle and back pain, asthenia (lack of energy), and swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). The second phase includes skin eruption, which usually begins between 1-3 days after the appearance of fever. The rashes tend to become concentrated on the extremities, the face, the palm, and the sole. The oral mucous membranes, genitalia, conjunctivae, and cornea are also affected.

It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting 2-4 weeks. The extent of virus infection decides the severity of the disease.

Diagnosis of Monkeypox

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of samples collected from the skin lesions is the preferred laboratory method to confirm monkeypox virus infection.

Prevention of Monkeypox Virus

Raising awareness about the risk factors associated with the disease can reduce exposure to the virus. Prior vaccination against smallpox can lessen the severity of the disease. In 2019 a newer vaccine based on modified attenuated vaccinia virus (Ankara strain) was approved to prevent monkeypox.


Monkeypox is a smallpox-like disease caused by the dsDNA virus named monkeypox virus. The monkeypox disease is a zoonotic disease spread from animal host to human from direct contact with the infected animal or contaminated objects. Some common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, asthenia (lack of energy), and swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). Although it is a self-limited disease smallpox vaccine is effective against the disease.