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Monkeypox

Monkeypox vaccines will be available in Australia next week

Monkeypox vaccines will be available in Australia next week

What is Monkey Pox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that people usually catch in the tropical regions of West and Central Africa.

It is usually spread by direct contact with animals such as squirrels, which are known to harbor the virus.

However, it can also be transmitted through very close contact with an infected person.

Monkeypox was first discovered when a smallpox-like disease broke out in monkeys kept for research in 1958.

The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and since then infection has been reported in a number of countries in Central and West Africa.

Only a few cases have been reported outside of Africa so far, and they have only involved people with travel connections to the continent.

How deadly is that?

Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering within a few weeks without treatment. However, the disease can be fatal.

However, it can kill up to 10 percent of the people it infects.

The milder strain causing the current outbreak kills one in 100 – similar to when Covid first struck.

Monkey pox shuts down some aspects of your body’s ability to fight infections.

Due to the presence of other viruses and bacteria that your body cannot fight off, patients can in the worst cases succumb to fatal shock throughout the body and blood poisoning.

Death is more likely in younger patients. Skin lesions are painful and disfiguring and can be a source of other infections.

Health chiefs have warned that monkeypox, a virus endemic to parts of Africa and known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could spread to some domestic animals and become endemic in Europe.  An undated file image of a leaflet issued by the UK Health Safety Agency showing the stages of Monkeypox

Health chiefs have warned that monkeypox, a virus endemic to parts of Africa and known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could spread to some domestic animals and become endemic in Europe. An undated file image of a leaflet issued by the UK Health Safety Agency showing the stages of Monkeypox

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Is there a cure?

Because monkeypox is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, smallpox shots can also protect people from getting monkeypox.

One vaccine, Imvanex, has been shown to be approximately 85% effective in preventing monkeypox infection.

Antivirals and mixed blood from individuals vaccinated against smallpox can be used to treat severe cases.

How does it spread?

Monkey pox is not naturally a sexually transmitted infection, although it can be transmitted by direct contact during sex.

Contagious lesions, which are most likely to transmit the infection, can appear on any part of the body.

The infection can also be transmitted through contact with clothing or linen used by an infected person.

Until now, monkeypox has only been detected in four countries outside of Africa – the UK, the US, Israel and Singapore.

And all these cases had travel links to Nigeria and Ghana.

Are gays more at risk?

Most of the British and Spanish cases are gay or bisexual men, which officials said is “highly suggestive of sexual networking”.

The sexuality of patients in other countries was not disclosed.

Health chiefs in the UK have made a direct appeal to men who have sex with men to come forward if they develop a rash on their face or genitals.

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

But its most unusual feature is a rash that often starts on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body, commonly the genitals, hands or feet.

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The rash changes and goes through different stages before eventually forming a scab that later falls off.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Anyone concerned that they may have contracted monkeypox is advised to contact the clinic before visiting.

Health chiefs say their call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

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