Understanding Mpox - ANH22258
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Mpox, formerly known as Monkeypox, is a rare disease caused by a very tiny germ, called the monkeypox virus. It belongs to a group of closely-related viruses, called Orthopoxvirus. Other viruses in this group that can infect humans include the variola virus, which causes smallpox, the cowpox virus, and vaccinia. Mpox is a zoonotic disease. This means it can spread from non-human animals to people. You can catch the virus through close, skin-to-skin contact, especially sexual activity, with a person who has mpox symptoms. If you have sex with someone who has mpox, it’s important to know that using a condom alone probably won’t protect you from catching the disease. This is because the virus can also spread through contact with a rash on non-genital parts of their body, body fluids, including droplets in their breath, and surfaces or objects they have used, such as their clothes and bedding. And, a pregnant woman who has mpox can pass the virus to her unborn child. But, scientists aren’t sure if a person who has mpox can spread the virus if they don’t have symptoms. Once the virus enters your body, it travels through your lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes, where it begins to multiply. Over the next one to two weeks, the virus spreads in your bloodstream throughout your body. During this time, called the incubation period, you won’t have symptoms. You may be at a higher risk for catching mpox if you have had close skin-to-skin contact within the last two weeks with someone who has, or may have, mpox, especially with men who have sex with men in a geographic area where mpox is spreading, or have a job that may expose you to Orthopoxviruses, such as lab workers and healthcare workers. Others at risk include those who have had contact with animals, such as monkeys or rodents, that could be infected, are exposed to objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus, or have not been vaccinated against smallpox. If you were born after 1972, chances are you did not receive the smallpox vaccine. Like most viral infections, mpox may start with flu-like symptoms, including feeling exhausted, chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a stuffy nose, sore throat, or cough. These symptoms are usually followed by a flat rash on certain areas of your body, such as the genitals, anal region, face, mouth, hands, feet, and chest. Then, the rash can turn into raised, pimple-like sores that are filled with fluid or pus. And, the rash is often very painful. This rash generally lasts for about a week before beginning to crust, scab over, and finally falling off with the appearance of new skin. If you think you might have symptoms of mpox, or want to find out more about it, talk to your healthcare practitioner.