By: dr. Wimbi Cahyani – PENTA Medica Clinic
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans by several types of animals such as monkeys and rats. This disease was first carried by a Nigerian man who visited Singapore in April 2019, and he was later declared positive for monkey pox in May 2019. So far, there has been zero monkeypox case reported in Indonesia.
The transmission of the monkeypox virus can occur through respiratory contact, contact with blood, body fluids and mucosa (mucous membranes) of infected animals, and can also be transmitted through consuming infected animal meat, with an incubation period of 4-20 days from the time of contact, while transmission among humans is still stated to be not too easy. Despite of monkeys and rats, animals that can transmit the monkeypox virus are dogs, cats, rabbits and squirrels, which originate from the African continent.
In general, the symptoms of monkeypox resemble the symptoms of smallpox, where the initial symptoms are fever (temperature 38-40.50C), back pain, severe headaches, joint pain, weakness, swollen lymph glands and sometimes accompanied by a decrease appetite. These initial symptoms usually occur on day 0 to day 5 and can last up to day 10.
Further symptoms are characterized by the appearance of a rash on the skin that appears on the first day to the third day after the appearance of a fever and usually lasts for 2-4 weeks. Symptoms on this skin begin with the appearance of a rash and then turn into spots which are sometimes accompanied by water or pus. Furthermore, these spots will dry out and cause black marks or crusting.
Although the symptoms of monkey pox are said to be lighter than smallpox, but it still can have fatal consequences if not detected and handled properly.
There is no specific treatment for monkey pox being reported until now. According to research, monkeypox is able to heal by itself. Only 1-10% of cases are fatal and result in death, which the cause of the death itself was not purely due to monkey pox, but was caused due to a previous patient’s disease history and the presence of secondary infection.
The main treatment for monkey pox is adequate rest/ bed rest. Patients are also given therapy according to the symptoms. If the symptoms are severe, it is advisable for the patient to stay in a hospital. Patients affected by monkeypox should also be isolated in order not to spread to the surroundings. Isolation is carried out until the crusting is completely removed from the patient’s body.
For further prevention of monkeypox, it is recommended for the victim to be vaccinated. Due to its similarity with smallpox, the vaccine given is the same vaccine as smallpox. The injection should be given on the fourth day after contact and no later than 2 weeks.