Explained: What is Monkeypox? What are its symptoms? And how do you treat it?

A milder version of smallpox, human Monkeypox was first reported in Africa in 1970. Since May 2022, 47 countries have reported outbreaks.

BySumit Jha

Published Jul 15, 2022 | 4:09 PM Updated Jul 27, 2022 | 10:24 AM

Since the beginning of May 2022, around 3,040 cases have been reported to WHO from 47 countries. (Creative Common)

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Monday, 18 July, confirmed that India’s second Monkeypox case has been detected in the state.

The second person affected with Monkeypox is a 31-year-old man who arrived from Dubai on 13 July and the very next day he was admitted to an isolation ward in Pariyaram Medical College.

The patient is a native of Kannur.

The minister added that the patient’s health condition is stable and assured that all who came in close contact with him are being closely monitored.

Affected States



  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples
  • Blisters on the face, mouth and other parts of the body — like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.


  • The risk of serious illness may be greater in pregnant women, children and those with weaker immune systems.
  • The case fatality ratio has been around three to six percent around the globe.

How many days does it last

The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks.

 How does it spread?

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact.
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) previously touched or used by Monkeypox patients.
  • Pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

Whom to consult?

  • Physician
  • Infectious disease specialist
  • Dermatologist


Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the preferred laboratory test to confirm Monkeypox.


  • No specific treatment yet for viral infection.
  • Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) are recommended for people severely ill.

How do we prevent it

  • Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like Monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with animals that can spread Monkeypox virus, usually rodents and primates.

Do we have vaccines for the disease?

Monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.