What Is Monkeypox? Origins and Symptoms

Aulia Hafisa
Monkeypox Illustration (Pixabay)
Monkeypox Illustration (Pixabay) - Monkeypox is a disease caused by viral zoonosis transmitted to humans from animals. The symptoms are similar to those seen in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. 

Monkeypox virus is a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus in the Poxviridae family. The genus Orthopoxvirus also includes the variola virus (which causes smallpox), as well as the vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine).

Monkeypox or monkeypox is endemic in England, Portugal, and Spain. Quoted from the page, here are several important facts about monkeypox that you should know and an understanding of what monkeypox is.

The Origin of Monkeypox

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 in Denmark when two smallpox-like cases were appearing in a colony of monkeys kept for research, so this smallpox was then called monkeypox.

In Africa, monkeypox infection has been found in many animal species, including monkeys, Gambian rats, and squirrels. The main host of this virus is actually a rodent (rat).

The First Monkeypox Case

Monkeypox illustration (Atakan/iStockphoto)
Monkeypox illustration (Atakan/iStockphoto)

Monkeypox cases in humans were first recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Then in 2003, the United States (US) reported a case that had a history of contact with an exotic pet (prairie dog) infected by rats from Africa that entered America.

Furthermore, in 2017 there was an extraordinary incident of monkeypox in Nigeria. Then in 2018 the UK and Israel also reported cases of monkeypox. And in Singapore in May 2019, it was stated that there was a Nigerian citizen who had monkeypox while attending a workshop, and 23 people who had close contact were quarantined for further examination and supervision.

Signs and symptoms

Quoting the WHO, the incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

The infection can be divided into two periods:

  • the invasion period (lasts between 0–5 days) is characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes), back pain, myalgia (muscle aches,) and intense asthenia (lack of energy). Lymphadenopathy is a distinctive feature of monkeypox compared to other diseases that may initially appear similar (chickenpox, measles, smallpox)
  • the skin eruption usually begins within 1–3 days of the appearance of fever. The rash tends to be more concentrated on the face and extremities rather than on the trunk. The rash evolves sequentially from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (slightly raised firm lesions), vesicles (lesions filled with clear fluid), pustules (lesions filled with yellowish fluid), and crusts that dry up and fall off. 

Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status, and nature of complications. Underlying immune deficiencies may lead to worse outcomes. 

Although vaccination against smallpox was protective in the past, today persons younger than 40 to 50 years of age (depending on the country) may be more susceptible to monkeypox due to the cessation of smallpox vaccination campaigns globally after the eradication of the disease. 

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