What Is Monkeypox? Cause, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is caused by Mpox virus. This virus belongs to the orthopoxvirus, which is closely related to the smallpox virus. It is also known as Mpox. This virus infects rats, mice, and monkeys. But now it can be found in human beings. The symptoms of Mpox are similar to smallpox.

This virus was first found in monkeys that were kept in a lab for research purposes in 1958 in South Africa. This virus was found in humans in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Monkeypox is a rare disease but it can be severe and fatal in some cases.

The Centers for disease control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring cases of Mpox throughout the world that don’t have Mpox such as in the USA and Europe. CDC successfully handled the outbreak of the 2022 Monkeypox in the United States.

What causes monkeypox?

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus which is a member of the orthopoxvirus family. Mpox is similar to the virus which causes smallpox.  Mpox has the same symptoms to that as smallpox but is slightly milder.

Monkeypox is transmitted to human beings through contact with affected animals or through human-to-human contact.

Symptoms for monkeypox

 The symptoms of monkeypox may appear 5-21 days after infection. The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms is known as the incubation period. So the incubation period of Mpox is 5-21 days. The symptoms of Mpox continue for 2-4 weeks and include:

Skin Rash

  • Skin rash appears on the face and spread to the other parts of the body. 
  • Skin rashes go through several developmental stages such as the formation of small fluid-filled blisters, and pustules that crust over and scab. 
  • Usually skin rash occurs about 1-4 days after fever.


  • Fever may be mild or severe 
  • Fever starts before the appearance of a rash
  • Fever may last for a few days or longer


  • Can be mild or severe
  • Can last for several days

Muscle Ache

  • Muscle aches may be mild or severe depending on the individual and the severity of the infection
  • It can affect different parts of the body.  


  • Chills may be mild or severe
  • It can be accompanied by fever


  • Fatigue can be either mild or severe
  • It can last for a few days or longer

Swollen Lymph Nodes

  • Swelling of lymph nodes occurs in the neck, armpit, or groin area. 

Back Pain

  • Back pain can be mild or severe and sometimes accompanied by muscle aches.

Sore Throat

  • A sore throat can be mild or severe and it can be accompanied by hoarseness or difficulty in swallowing.


  • Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye’s outermost layer which can be mild or severe and can cause itching, redness, and discharge from the eye.

Note: It is not necessary that all patients of monkeypox have all of the above symptoms. But people with Mpox may have these symptoms. Moreover, the severity of symptoms may vary from person to person. 

Monkeypox transmission

The Mpox virus spread through close contact with infected persons, animals or materials such as blankets, glass, towels etc. The common mode of monkeypox virus spread include:


Monkeypox virus spread from infected animals to human beings with close contact such as animal bites, scratches, eating products of infected animals and direct contact with the fluids or rashes of infected animals.


Monkeypox can be transmitted from infected individuals to healthy individuals. This virus is contagious and propagates through direct contact of infected body fluids such as saliva, pus or blood. The Mpox virus can be also spread through sneezing, coughing.

Contact with Contaminated materials

Monkeypox virus can be spread from contaminated objects to humans with close contact. This virus survives for several hours on the surface of different objects such as clothes, blankets, beds, and other equipment.

It is a common mode of monkeypox virus transmission in healthcare settings.

How to prevent monkeypox?

To prevent the spreading of Monkeypox follow these important:

Monkeypox vaccine

To prevent the spreading of monkeypox then vaccinate yourself because it is the best way for the prevention of monkeypox.

Smallpox vaccines such as Jynneas os vaccines and ACAM200 is also used to prevent the spreading of monkeypox virus because these two viruses are the same and belong to the same family.

 Stay away from infected animals

Avoid close contact with infected animals because it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Commonly infected animals include monkeys, rodents and squirrels.

Practice good Hygiene

To prevent the spread of the monkeypox virus always wash your hands with soap after close contact with animals or contaminated objects. Practicing good hygiene will not only prevent you from Mpox but also from other lethal diseases.

Use protective objects

When you are in contact with infected individuals always use protective objects such as gowns, masks and gloves because they reduce the spreading of monkeypox virus.

Isolate infected people

To prevent the propagation of Mpox, you should isolate infected individuals because it is the best way which is used for the prevention of monkeypox.

Practice sneezing and coughing protocol

When you are sneezing or coughing, always cover your mouth and nose with tissue or elbow.

Learn travel precautionary tips

If you are traveling to an area where monkeypox is prominent then you should learn all the precautionary tips that are used for the prevention of monkeypox.

Avoid wild animals meat or Bushmeat

Avoid the meat of those animals that are the common source of monkeypox virus transmission.

 These are the common preventive tips that are used for the prevention of monkeypox virus spreading.

Treatment for monkeypox

There is no treatment for monkeypox but physicians are using supportive care to reduce the symptoms of monkeypox. The common supportive treatment used for monkeypox include:

Antiviral medicines for Mpox

Antiviral medicines such as cidofovir, tecovirimat and acyclovir are used to treat monkeypox. These medicines dramatically reduce the symptoms and complications of Mpox in severe cases.

Medicines for pain

Pain management is a crucial step in the treatment of monkeypox. Usually over the counter pain killers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, and other analgesics are used to reduce fever, muscle aches and headaches.

Fluid replacement or hydration

The common complication of monkeypox is dehydration in severe cases. So to compensate for the dehydration, fluid replacement therapy is performed.

Proper wound Care

Wound care is an essential step in the prevention of monkeypox. Properly cover the wound lesion and use antibiotics if there is an infection.


Isolate the infected individual to prevent the spreading of Mpox to other individuals. 

Complications of monkeypox

The common complications of monkeypox include:

  • Scars on the face, arm & legs
  • Blindness
  • Weakness
  • Death in severe cases

The 2022 outbreak of Mpox virus in the United States is Clade II. It rarely causes death.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by Mpox. It is a virus belonging to the family of orthopoxvirus. Initially, this virus was found in monkeys and then spread to humans.

Monkeypox spread through close contact with infected animals, individuals or objects.

There is no treatment for monkeypox but several supportive therapies are available to reduce the symptoms of monkeypox and prevent it. It rarely causes death.


Q1. What are the first signs of monkeypox?

Ans: The first signs of monkeypox usually appears within 5-21 days after exposure to the monkeypox virus. The initial signs of monkeypox include:

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Headache
  • backache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
Q2. What happens when you get monkeypox?

Ans. When you get monkeypox virus then you will experience a variety of symptoms. The initial symptoms include fever, rashes, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.

Q3. How can you get monkeypox?

Ans. You can get monkeypox through direct contact with infected individuals, and animals, eating infected animal products, or infected objects, sneezing and coughing.

Q4. Why is it called monkeypox?

Ans. It is called monkeypox because it was found in monkeys that were kept in a research lab in 1958 in western parts of South Africa. From monkeys, Mpox spread to the human in 1970 in Congo. People who get the Mpox virus develop a monkeypox disease. Mpox is a virus that caused monkeypox.


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