What is Monkeypox Virus?

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

What is Monkeypox Virus?

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can be easily transmitted between sexual partners. This is due to the virus spreading through skin-to-skin contact, as well as the monkeypox lesions commonly appearing around the genitals and anus.

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, body aches, and fatigue. The disease is similar to the smallpox virus but much less deadly. The disease can result in a rash that leads to red bumps on the skin.

Monkeypox cases in this outbreak have involved a rash (often in the genital and peri-anal regions), and may also include other symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pain when swallowing, before or after the rash appearance. Most infections last two to four weeks.

At this time, there are no specific treatments available for monkeypox infection, but monkeypox outbreaks can be controlled. Smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used to control a monkeypox outbreak.

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