נגעים של אבעבועות הקוף בעור
Skin lesions caused by monkeypox
Photo: Reuters
Skin lesions caused by monkeypox

What are causes and symptoms of the monkeypox disease?

Explainer: The smallpox-related virus originates in wild animals, usually transfers via bites, scratches, as well as skin contact, and causes fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body

Dr. Itay Gal |
Published: 05.28.22, 08:56
Last week, Israel confirmed the country's first case of the viral monkeypox disease, which has been spreading quite fast in Western Europe, causing health officials some concerns.
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  • As a result, the Health Ministry earlier this week issued a detailed explanation, detailing the cause and the symptoms of the viral infection.
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    נגעים של אבעבועות הקוף בעור
    נגעים של אבעבועות הקוף בעור
    Skin lesions caused by monkeypox
    (Photo: Reuters)
    According to the Health Ministry, smallpox-related disease originates in primates and other wild animals, and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. Severe cases, meanwhile, can develop a rash and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.
    The ministry adds that in most cases the disease lasts from two weeks to a month, and that symptoms may appear 5-21 days upon initial exposure.
    The first symptoms are often a combination of fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes - which allow doctors to differentiate between monkeypox and smallpox or chickenpox.
    3 View gallery
    אבעבועות קוף אבעבועות הקוף
    אבעבועות קוף אבעבועות הקוף
    Skin lesions caused by monkeypox
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    A rash will usually appear between one to three days after the fever sets in. The rash often first appears on the face, later spreading to other areas of the body. The number of lesions ranges from a few to thousands. Lesions themselves can appear in many different forms and sizes.
    Monkeypox most commonly spreads via the bite or scratch of an infected animal, the digestion of infected meat, or via direct contact with a sick person or their belongings, i.e. clothing and bed sheets.
    The virus enters the body through the skin, respiratory system, eyes, nose or mouth. Infection between humans occurs mainly through saliva fragments being transferred from a close distance, or via the transfer of a relatively large amount of blood.
    Health experts are currently not sure whether the virus passes through semen, vaginal, anal or oral sex. The virus can, however, be transmitted via skin contact.
    3 View gallery
    נגיפי אבעבועות הקוף
    נגיפי אבעבועות הקוף
    Monkeypox virus under a microscope
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Since the start of the latest monkeypox outbreak in Africa, the disease has caused the deaths of 10% of those infected - mainly in children and young people, or those with a weakened immune system.
    Nonetheless, the virus is not considered dangerous, and most people who contract it make a full recovery within a few weeks.
    And while there’s no dedicated treatment for the pathogen, experts believe that the smallpox vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox. Experts say the pathogen is related to the deadly smallpox virus that became extinct in the 1980s thanks to an aggressive vaccination drive by the World Health Organization.

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