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What are the early symptoms of monkeypox?

The disease has a confirmed case in the US while Europe deals with its highest amount of cases to date.

The palms of a monkeypox case patient from Lodja, a city located within the Katako-Kombe Health Zone, are seen during a health investigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.

The US has declared its first case of monkeypox. Though the numbers are small, just one person, people can be forgiven for being worried about diseases as covid-19 still plays a large role in peoples lives.

In terms of the one confirmed case in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the local boards of health said they are carrying out contact tracing, adding that “the case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.”

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Though case numbers are next to nothing in the US, the disease has also been spotted in half a dozen European countries. So what are the symptoms of monkeypox?

What are the symptoms?

The CDC has these symptoms listed on their website:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

By day 3, there is likely to be a fever and a rash, the latter of which usually begins on the face. The rash becomes lesions which go through the following stages before falling off:

  • Macules - flat lesions less than 1cm in size
  • Papules - raised lesions but still less than 1cm around
  • Vesicles - small blisters
  • Pustules - blisters which are full of a yellow fluid called pus.
  • Scabs - a hard area of skin once the pustule has burst

This should last between two and four weeks.

How is the disease transmitted?

It is possible to contract monkeypox from a person, though it was thought to be quite difficult to do so. It is far more common to catch monkeypox from an infected animal. This is usually through a bite or touching its bodily fluids.

The outbreak in the UK has been linked to the virus being transmitted sexually. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said people should be alert to unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia.


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