Monkeypox infection: symptoms, cause, effects, treatment

The U.K. health authorities have confirmed a case of monkeypox. The first-ever recorded occurrence of the monkeypox virus in the U.K. was in 2018, and since then a handful of cases have been confirmed by health authorities.

What is monkeypox infection?

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus that can occur in certain animals and humans. The disease can appear similar to chickenpox.

Monkeypox virus is an Orthopoxvirus, a genus of the family Poxviridae that contains other viral species that target mammals. The virus is found mainly in tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa.

Symptoms of Monkeypox

Symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling tired.

This is followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts over.The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is around 10 days. The duration of symptoms is typically 2 to 5 weeks.


The disease mostly occurs in Central and West Africa. It was first identified in 1958 among laboratory monkeys. The first cases in humans were found in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Limited person-to-person spread of infection has been reported in disease-endemic areas in Africa.


Non-fatal cases of monkeypox can result in permanent vision loss due to damage of the cornea.

Human Infection

Humans can be infected by an animal via a bite, or by direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. The virus can also spread from human to human, by respiratory (airborne) contact or by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Treatment of Monkeypox

Currently, no treatment for monkeypox has been shown to be effective or safe. Vaccination against smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection.