The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first Gulf state to record a case of monkeypox.
The Czech Republic and Slovenia also reported their first cases yesterday, joining 18 other countries to detect the virus outside Africa.
In the UAE, health officials announced a case has been detected in a traveller who had recently visited West Africa and is now receiving medical treatment adding that they are fully prepared to handle any outbreak.
BBC reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus can be contained with the right response in countries outside Africa and encourages countries to increase the surveillance of monkeypox to see where transmission levels are and understand where it is going.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.
With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has emerged as the most important orthopoxvirus for public health.
Monkeypox primarily occurs in central and west Africa, often in proximity to tropical rainforests, and has been increasingly appearing in urban areas. Animal hosts include a range of rodents and non-human primates.
- Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox. Newer vaccines have been developed of which one has been approved for the prevention of monkeypox
- Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
- Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%.
- Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.
- Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
- Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
- An antiviral agent developed for the treatment of smallpox has also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox.
- The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness.
- Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
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