Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people.
Spread of monkeypox may occur when a person comes into close contact with an infected animal (rodents are believed to be the primary animal reservoir for transmission to humans), human, or materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox has not been detected in animals in the UK.
The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Person-to-person spread is uncommon, but may occur through:
- contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) used by an infected person
- direct contact with monkeypox skin lesions or scabs
- coughing or sneezing of an individual with a monkeypox rash
The incubation period is the duration/time between contact with the infected person and the time that the first symptoms appear. The incubation period for monkeypox is between 5 and 21 days.
Monkeypox infection is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within several weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.
The illness begins with:
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 5 days after the appearance of fever, a rash develops, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off.
An individual is contagious until all the scabs have fallen off and there is intact skin underneath. The scabs may also contain infectious virus material.
The illness is usually mild and most of those infected will recover within a few weeks without treatment. For more information on this Monkeypox (who.int)