CPR First Aid

What is Monkeypox?

The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care describes monkeypox (mpox) as a rare viral illness that causes mild symptoms that last for weeks. It originally occurred in Africa which has spread to other countries including Australia. Symptoms may differ, transmission is possible through different contacts, and certain people are at risk. However, the application of preventive measures may help. Find additional details of these below. 

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a naturally transmissible disease from vertebrate animals to humans. It originally occurred in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and has spread to other regions. In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an outbreak and the first case in Australia occurred in May of the same year.

Monkeypox is a disease transmitted from animals to humans, mainly in Africa, with a 2022 outbreak reported globally.

What Causes Monkeypox?

The mpox virus causes monkeypox which is under the same family of viruses as variola virus which causes smallpox.

How Does Monkeypox Spread?

An infected person may transmit the mpox virus may be in the following methods.

  • Via the placenta during pregnancy
  • Intimate physical contact during sex
  • Respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing
  • Close contact with rashes, blisters, or sores on the skin
  • Exposure to contaminated objects including linens and towels

A person becomes infected from the time they develop symptoms until the scabs heal. The whole process may take up to several weeks.

Who is at Risk of Getting Monkeypox?

Certain groups are more likely to develop monkeypox due to possible exposure and sensitive immune systems.

  • Travelers who return from countries with confirmed cases
  • People who have had close contact with a mpox case

Infants, young children, pregnant women, and people who are immunocompromised may also have severe cases once they get the infection.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Monkeypox?

Someone who has monkeypox may show the following.

  • Rashes
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Rashes look like lesions or blisters that occur in different parts of the body such as the face, mouth, torso, arms and hands, legs, feet, and genitals.

What is the First Aid for Monkeypox?

The first aid for monkeypox aims to manage the symptoms and it depends on the severity of the infection. A doctor may prescribe pain medicines, antibiotics, antiviral medicines, intravenous, or others. 

Monkeypox first aid treats symptoms based on severity. It includes pain meds, antibiotics, antivirals, and more.

What to do if you have a Monkeypox?

According to Healthdirect, the national health information service, you must book an appointment with a GP as soon as you develop monkeypox symptoms. Wear a face mask, cover any sores, and avoid close contact with other people when you go to a clinic. 

What is the Status of Monkeypox Outbreak?

There have been cases of monkeypox since 2022 and most countries are still working with the WHO to prevent further spread of the disease. In Australia, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) stood down Australia’s CDINS declaration for mpox on November 5, 2022. But, the risk of cases for mpox in the county remains so the states and territories continue to implement local arrangements.

How Many Monkeypox Cases Are Recorded in Australia?

One of The Medical Journal of Australia’s articles states that there have been 144 laboratory‐confirmed cases in Australia as of January 3, 2023. 109 other countries have also reported a monkeypox outbreak.

How to Prevent Monkeypox?

Applying preventive measures may help avoid the disease.

  • Keep physical distance from infected people
  • Apply a good hygiene
  • Avoid contact with any animals that may carry the virus 
  • Use condoms when having sexual contact

Vaccines are also available for additional protection.

What is the Monkeypox Vaccine in Australia?

Two types of monkeypox vaccines are available for use in Australia.

  • 3rd generation JYNNEOS®
  • 2nd generation ACAM2000™

Such vaccines are available before and after you get exposure to mpox virus.

Who Should Get the Monkeypox Vaccine in Australia?

Anyone may get the vaccine but certain groups have a priority since they are more prone to getting the disease. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) identified the categories.

  • Sex workers
  • People who are planning to travel to a country with a monkeypox outbreak
  • Healthcare professionals

People in these groups may go to their respective local government offices.

Do the Monkeypox Vaccines in Australia have Side Effects?

The vaccines may cause the following side effects.

  • Pain, redness, swelling, small bump, or permanent scar in the injected site
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Chills

People who receive the monkeypox vaccine may also have to avoid donating blood and getting pregnant for a certain period.

Conclusion

Monkeypox is a transmissible disease from vertebrate animals to humans that the mpox virus causes. It spreads through pregnancy, physical contact, respiratory droplets, and exposure to contaminated objects. Signs and symptoms may include rashes, muscle aches, chills, and others. Once you develop these, book an appointment with a GP who may prescribe a first aid treatment to manage the symptoms. This disease has been a global outbreak with at least 144 cases in Australia since 2022. Proper hygiene and physical distance may help in the prevention. Vaccines are also available and are given first to those who are at higher risk of getting it.

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