Monkeypox vaccine

What is monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease that arises when infected with the monkeypox virus, a virus that was first discovered in monkeys. But despite its association with monkeys, it may infect other mammals as well, such as squirrels and rats. It may infect humans, as few human infections have been recorded over the years.

The virus that causes this disease belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, from which viruses that cause some other infectious diseases, such as smallpox,  descend. Monkeypox may cause symptoms similar to those of smallpox but less severe.

Although the majority of cases of the disease are mild cases, the patient often recovers without the need for treatment. But in some cases, it is possible that the disease worsens to the emergence of severe symptoms that may lead to death, especially if the patient is a child.

Monkeypox is particularly common on the African continent, with the majority of cases reported in some West and Central African countries, particularly in areas with rainforests.

Historical background


Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when a group of laboratory monkeys was diagnosed with it. In 1970, the first human infection with monkeypox was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a US citizen recently got the disease after returning from Nigeria.

Types of monkeypox virus

There are two types of monkeypox virus, which divide this virus into the following two groups:

  1. Central African monkeypox virus: This type is characterized by causing more severe symptoms than the other type. It causes higher rates of death. Also, the process of transmission of the virus from one person to another through contact has been documented.
  1. West African monkeypox virus: This causes less severe symptoms than the other type, and its transmission from person to person by contact is limited.

Causes of monkeypox

This disease arises when the virus that causes it is transmitted to the body. It is possible for the virus to infiltrate the body through a scratch or cut in the skin or through the eyes, nose, or mouth, after exposure to the virus in one of these ways:

  • Direct contact with the body fluids of the victim.
  • Direct contact with skin lesions visible on the victim’s body, or with internal mucous membranes, such as those found inside the mouth.
  • Exposure to droplets from the respiratory tract of the patient.
  • Touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus.

These are examples of situations that may increase the chances of transmission of the virus:

Bumps and blisters
(monkeypox symptoms)
  • Eating the meat of an infected animal.
  • Exposure to a pinch, bite, or any type of injury caused by an infected animal.
  • Close and face-to-face contact with an infected person for a relatively long period, or an infected person sneezing or coughing near a healthy person.
  • Using the personal belongings of an infected person, such as bed linen or towels.

However, we should note that the majority of the infected cases were a result of the transmission of the virus from infected animals to humans, not from one person to another.

Symptoms of monkeypox

Symptoms of the disease usually begin to appear 1-2 weeks after exposure to the virus. These are the most famous ones:

General symptoms

Here is a list of the most notable symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Back Pains.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Respiratory problems, such as sore throat, dry cough, and difficulty breathing.

Skin rash

1-5 days after the first symptoms of the disease appear, a distinctive rash usually begins to appear on the surface of the skin. This rash is punctuated by the appearance of red bumps and blisters. It often appears first on the face, then spreads to various areas of the body, especially the upper and lower extremities.

Over time, the red pimples turn into small blisters filled with a transparent liquid and then turn into blisters filled with a yellow liquid.

Monkeypox diagnosis

To diagnose the disease, here are some of the tests and procedures to use:

However, we should note that reaching the correct diagnosis may be a difficult process, especially since the symptoms of the disease are similar to those of other diseases, such as smallpox.

Monkeypox tests
Monkeypox tests

Monkeypox treatment

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. Most of the procedures that may be used are supportive procedures and nothing more. These are some of them:

  • Use of certain antiviral and anti-infective drugs, such as Tecovirimat.
  • Isolate the patient in the hospital, and ensure the cleanliness of the surrounding environment throughout the recovery period.
  • Urge the patient to rest throughout the injury period, and to drink plenty of healthy fluids to boost the immune system.
  • Health professionals also believe that the traditional smallpox vaccine may help reduce the chances of getting monkeypox in the first place, especially if the person is susceptible to the virus for one reason or another.

Monkeypox  prevention

Adhering to certain preventative measures may help reduce or prevent monkeypox infection. These measures include:

  • Receiving the Smallpox Vaccine, as reports indicate that the smallpox vaccine reduces the risk of developing monkeypox. Data show that vaccines are up to 85 percent effective against monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization. It is reported that the first case of infection in Europe was confirmed on May 7 in a person who had returned to England from Nigeria, where the disease is endemic.
  • Avoid contact with animals that may carry the monkeypox virus, which includes sick animals, or animals found dead in areas where the virus is common.
  • Avoid contact with any material that has come into contact with sick animals, such as bedding, clothing, etc.
  • Isolate patients with monkeypox from other people at risk of contracting the disease.
  • Practicing good hygiene after contact with infected humans or animals, such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, or using alcohol sterilizers.
  • Use personal protective equipment when caring for sick people.
Monkeypox outbreak

How dangerous is monkeypox

According to the British Government’s Health Office, monkeypox usually has mild symptoms. But it can also have serious complications. Experts rule out that the infections currently spreading in Europe will cause deaths.

According to the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases, males and females are equally susceptible to monkeypox. But statistics confirm that most deaths in Africa were due to the virus that impacted children.

The spread of monkeypox in 2022

Monkeypox continues to spread around the world. The first case was confirmed in Europe on May 7 in a person who had returned to England from Nigeria, where monkeypox was endemic.

Since then, Portugal has recorded 14 cases, and Spain has confirmed seven cases. The United States and Sweden have also reported one case each. And the Italian authorities recorded one confirmed case, and two other cases were suspected. Belgium and France also confirmed the emergence of cases of the disease

On the other hand, authorities in Britain rushed to vaccinate some health care workers and others at risk of developing monkeypox with the smallpox vaccine. A spokesman for Britain’s Health Security Agency said there is no specific vaccine for monkeypox. But the smallpox vaccine offers some protection.


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