Monkeypox 101: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Sep 28, 2022

Urgent Care

Monkeypox 101 Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Earlier, Monkeypox (a highly contagious viral infection) was common in central and West Africa. However, in May 2022, it began spreading to several other countries, including the US. As of September 14, 2022, more than 60,000 cases of Monkeypox are reported globally, with more than 20,000 cases in the US. Though the Monkeypox virus is rarely fatal, pregnant/breastfeeding women, children under 8 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems or eczema are at high risk of developing complications from the disease.

Continue reading to learn more about Monkeypox and its symptoms, transmission, and prevention.

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus that can spread from animals to humans and vice versa. However, the virus can also spread from one human to another. The viral infection typically begins with flu-like symptoms and then progresses to a rash after some days. According to the WHO, there are two strains of Monkeypox virus, including the West African clade and the Central African (Congo basin) clade. 

Symptoms of Monkeypox

It takes 1 to 3 weeks for the infected person to develop symptoms, which may include:

  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Back pain
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  •  Sore throat
  • Breathing difficulty (in serious cases)

After 1 to 4 days of the onset of fever, the infected person develops a rash, which usually starts on the face and then spreads to other body parts. The rash can go through many stages, including:

  • Painful rash that begins on the genitals, pubic area, or around the anus
  • Open sores or pus-filled blisters
  • Bumps in different places
  • Some people may develop a rash first and then other symptoms, whereas others may only develop a rash.

Besides these, other possible symptoms include:

  • Bleeding in the rectum
  • Pain around the anus
  • Painful inflammation of the rectum lining and anus

How Do Monkeypox Viruses Spread?

The virus can spread in different ways, including:

Humans to Humans

  • One person can get the infection from the other by:
  • Direct contact with the infected person’s rash, sores, or body fluids
  • Touching objects and fabrics that have been used by someone infected with Monkeypox
  • Contact with respiratory secretions

Animals to Humans

The infected animals can pass the virus to people when they scratch or bite them. It can also occur if you eat the meat of an animal infected with Monkeypox.

What Should You Do If You Have Been Exposed to Monkeypox Virus?

CDC says a person exposed to an infected animal or person should monitor their health for 3 weeks following the exposure and get tested. This includes:

  • Measure your temperature twice every day.
  • If you have swollen lymph nodes and chills without fever or rash, isolate yourself at home for a day. If they persist even after a day, consult your doctor.
  • If you develop a rash and/or fever, self-isolate immediately and contact your local healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • If you are asymptomatic, you can continue your routine activities. However, do not donate cells, breast milk, tissue, blood, organs, or semen during this period.  

How Is Monkeypox Treated?

Currently, there is no specific treatment for Monkeypox. However, your doctor may:

  • Treat your symptoms with prescription medications, including topical creams and pain relievers.
  • Recommend antivirals and smallpox vaccine to prevent further aggravation of the infection.
  • Advise you to take plenty of rest and fluids to expedite your recovery.

Possible Complications of Monkeypox

Monkeypox lasts only for 2 to 4 weeks, but some people can develop serious health complications, including:

  • Sepsis
  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain tissue)
  • Bronchopneumonia
  • Infection of the cornea (with the possibility of blindness)
  • Severe scars on the legs, arm, and face

Though Monkeypox is a self-limited disease with a reduced fatality ratio of 3-6%, diagnosing and treating it on time will protect your health and well-being while preventing potential complications.

Get Tested for Monkeypox at Metro Urgent Care

If you are looking for Monkeypox testing in Chicago, IL, and surrounding areas, contact us today at Metro Urgent Care or walk into our clinic. We provide results within 24 hours. 


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