What you should know – Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a virus that can be transmitted to humans from animals, making it a viral zoonosis that causes symptoms that are like smallpox. Monkeypox first originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. The first human case was identified in a young child. The name monkeypox originates from the Statens Serum Institutes that are in Copenhagen, Denmark from the discovery of the virus in monkeys in 1958. The monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. 

Monkeypox virus has an incubation period from 6 to 13 days, but this can range from 5 to 21 days. Transmission of the virus involves close contact with body fluids, lesions, and contaminated materials like bedding or respiratory droplets. Some animal species have been identified as being susceptible to the monkeypox virus. 

Prevention measures for the monkeypox virus involve – firstly, using personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients. Secondly, avoid contact with bedding or other materials that have been in contact with a sick animal. Thirdly, isolation of infected patients reduces the risk of infection. Fourthly, practice sanitization as frequently as possible, washing hands with alcohol-based sanitizer or soap with water, after contact with infected humans or animals. Lastly, avoid contact with animals that have been found sick or infected with monkeypox in areas. Animals that may harbour this virus include tree squirrels, dormice, rope squirrels, non-human primates, and Gambian pouch rats. 

Treatment of the monkeypox varies from person to person. Some recover without any initial treatment if their symptoms are mild. Avoiding close contact with a person by isolation lessens the spread of it. For more severe symptoms, where your symptoms are more serious or you have a weakened immune system, you’ll need to stay at the hospital till your recovery is complete. 

Currently, all Caribbean countries are on alert because of this virus. The public is advised to report any form of skin lesions and accompanying symptoms to the local health authorities.  


WHO – Multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries: Update 

CDC – Monkeypox – Prevention  

NHS – Monkeypox  

PAHO – Monkeypox – Your questions answered