WHAT IS MPOX?
Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. Mpox is not related to chickenpox.
Mpox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “mpox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.
The first human case of mpox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, mpox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all mpox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
In humans, the symptoms of mpox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Mpox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and mpox is that mpox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for mpox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
The illness begins with:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:
The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks. In Africa, mpox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
Mpox spreads in a few ways.
MPOX INFECTION PREVENTION/DISINFECTION: