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  • Monkeypox did not originate from monkeys

    Author: AAP

Health authorities across a number of countries are dealing with small outbreaks of monkeypox. But what is monkeypox and how bad is it?

WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

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* Monkeypox is caused by a virus that has jumped from animals to humans.

* It mostly occurs in the tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa but has turned up in other countries.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

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* Fever, rash (skin eruptions) and swollen lymph nodes.

* It looks a bit like smallpox but is less contagious and generally less severe. Chickenpox is another imitator.

* Symptoms last from two to four weeks after the incubation period, which is usually about five days after infection up to two weeks - although it can be as long as three weeks.

* It can lead to a number of medical complications.

* The death rate is around three to six per cent.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?

* Monkeypox is spread by droplets. For this reason, the wearing of face masks is often cited as a prevention measure.

* It can be contracted by close contact with an infected person or animal, or contaminated objects such as bedding.

* Most human infections are the result of animal-to-human transmission, including from dead animals.

WHERE DID IT ORIGINATE?

* It was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a nine-year-old boy.

* Monkeypox is considered a disease of global public health importance.

DOES MONKEYPOX COME FROM MONKEYS?

* No.

* Scientists think it might have first originated in rodents.

* Rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, non-human primates, and other species such as prairie dogs are all susceptible to monkeypox.

(Source: World Health Organisation)

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