Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
- Monkeypox facts
- What is monkeypox?
- What is the history of monkeypox?
- What causes monkeypox? How is monkeypox transmitted?
- What are risk factors for monkeypox?
- What are monkeypox symptoms and signs?
- How is monkeypox diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for monkeypox?
- What is the prognosis of monkeypox?
- Can monkeypox be prevented?
- What research is being done on monkeypox?
- Where can people get more information about monkeypox?
- Monkeypox is a viral disease that produces pox lesions on the skin and is closely related to smallpox but is not nearly as deadly as smallpox was.
- The history of monkeypox is new (1958), and the first human cases were diagnosed and differentiated from smallpox in the early 1970s.
- Monkeypox virus causes monkeypox. The majority of cases are transmitted from animals (rodents) to humans by direct contact; person-to-person transfer, probably by droplets, can occur but not frequently.
- Risk factors for monkeypox include close association with African animals (usually rodents) that have the disease or caring for a patient who has monkeypox.
- During the first few days, symptoms are nonspecific and include fever, nausea, and malaise. After about four to seven days, lesions (pustules, papules) develop on the face and trunk that ulcerate, crust over, and begin to clear up after about 14-21 days and lymph nodes enlarge; there may be some scarring.
- The diagnosis of monkeypox is often made presumptively in Africa by the patient's history and the exam that shows the pox lesions, however, a definitive diagnosis is made by PCR, ELISA, or Western blotting tests that are usually done by the CDC or some state labs. Definitive diagnosis is important to rule out other possible infectious agents like smallpox.
- Treatment may consist of immediate vaccination with smallpox vaccine because monkeypox is so closely related to smallpox; treatment with an antiviral drug or human immune globulin has been done.
- In general, the prognosis for monkeypox is good to excellent as most patients recover. The prognosis may decrease in immunocompromised patients, and patients with other problems such as malnutrition or lung disease may have a poorer prognosis.
- Monkeypox is preventable as long as people avoid direct contact with infected animals and people. Vaccination against smallpox seems to afford about an 85% chance of avoiding the infection. There is no commercially available vaccine specifically for monkeypox.
- Research is ongoing to study antivirals, genetics, and rapid tests for monkeypox.
Next: What is monkeypox?
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