Monkeypox: How To Prevent The Spread? FAQ’s Answered By Dr. Darrell Demello

    Dr. Darrell DeMello (file image)

    Detection of Monkey Pox in Delhi recently (without a history of travel) has led to anxiety among citizens who haven’t recovered fully from COVID-19 effects.

    Monkeypox, as of now, is a disease of predominantly adult males, mostly sexually transmitted, in which the genital area is affected. The disease has spread rarely to children from their fathers.

    Some facts about this infection:

    1) Monkeypox, an Orthopoxvirus, was first isolated in the late 1900s from a colony of Monkeys. The virus is in the same genus as variola (causative agent of smallpox) and vaccinia viruses (the virus used in one of the available smallpox vaccines). It gets its name from an outbreak of the same among a group of laboratory test monkeys inside a research facility in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first human case was detected in 1970.

    2) Role of animals in spread — It is a zoonotic disease Man and Monkey both are accidental hosts and wild rodents/Rats seems to be harbouring the virus . The strain isolated from West Africa appears to be less virulent than the one from Central Africa.

    How does it spread?

    Prolonged contact with animals (monkeys, squirrels, wild rodents etc) or animal meat (wild animals) or close contact with infected humans.

    Primarily it doesn’t spread via air but if someone is in close contact with an infected patient can get infection via large droplets.

    It is LESS INFECTIVE than Small Pox and Chicken Pox.

    How to prevent the spread?

    Isolate yourself to a room for three weeks till all lesions scab and fall.

    Incubation period:

    The incubation period of monkeypox virus infection is usually from 5 to 13 days.


    Prodromal phase typically lasts up to five days, is characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy, back pain, myalgia, and severe fatigue. Swelling of the lymph nodes may be generalized (involving many different locations on the body) or localized to several areas.

    Rash – The skin eruption usually begins within one to four days of appearance of fever and continues for a period of two to three weeks, although rashes without a prodrome have been reported. Rash is painful to start with but becomes itchy. The rash starts from face, palm and soles.

    If l am exposed to someone with the virus what I should do:

    Small pox vaccination if given within 4 days can prevent disease.

    Although vaccination can be considered for up to 14 days of an exposure, if given between days 4 and 14, vaccination is thought to reduce the symptoms of disease, but not prevent the disease.

    There are two available vaccines that can reduce the risk of developing monkeypox. The modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine (JYNNEOS in the United States, IMVANEX in the European Union, and IMVAMUNE in Canada) and ACAMzooo vaccine.


    • It is a Self Limiting Disease with low mortality.
    • Doesn’t leads to scarring unless immune-compromised.
    • Those who were born before 1977 likely to have received small pox vaccination and should offer some protection. If no rash develops after 5 days of fever you can exclude monkey pox as differential diagnosis.