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  4. Is monkeypox similar to smallpox or more dangerous? Know Symptoms, signs and prevention

Is monkeypox similar to smallpox or more dangerous? Know Symptoms, signs and prevention

Monkeypox is a disease in the same family as smallpox and symptoms include a distinct bumpy rash, a fever, sore muscles and a headache. It is less deadly than smallpox.

Ridhi Suri Edited by: Ridhi Suri @SuriRidhi New Delhi Updated on: May 23, 2022 18:25 IST
Monkeypox, Smallpox
Image Source : AP/FREEPIK

Monkeypox VS Smallpox 

As the world continues to struggle with coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts, global concerns have been raised over the recent increase in rare monkeypox virus. Several cases of the infection have been confirmed in 15 countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, warning that the infection is likely to spread to more nations. Monkeypox is a viral infection that is more common in West and Central Africa. It is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe.

"The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries," the global health body said. So far no confirmed cases of Monkeypox have been reported in India.

How is monkeypox similar to smallpox?

Monkeypox is a disease in the same family as smallpox and symptoms include a distinct bumpy rash, a fever, sore muscles and a headache. It is less deadly than smallpox, but experts are worried about the unusual spread of the disease beyond Africa where it usually circulates. Monkeypox's outbreak has become a matter of concern because of its spreading rate. This infection is cured in around three weeks. ALSO READ: Monkeypox scare in India: BMC's guidelines for isolation, management of suspected cases post global outbreak

Difference between monkeypox and smallpox

The main difference between monkeypox and smallpox is that apart from the flu like symptoms, monkeypox causes enlargement of lymph nodes or glands in the body.

Which is more dangerous between monkeypox and smallpox?

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness. The symptoms of monkeypox are much milder than those of smallpox. Severe cases can occur. Case fatality rate may vary from 1-10%.

Monkeypox: Symptoms and Signs

Fever

Rash
Swollen lymph nodes 
Sore muscles
Headache
Other medical complications

How can monkeypox spread?

  • Monkeypox can be transmitted from animal to humans as well as human to human. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). This happens when you come into contact with airborne droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. 
  • The transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets generally requiring prolonged close contact. 
  • It can also be transmitted through direct contact with body fluids or lesion material.
  • This virus can also be spread through sex.
  • It can also be spread by direct or indirect contact with material contaminated with the virus, which may include clothing, bleeding or other linens used by an infected person or animal.

What is smallpox and how is it spread

Smallpox is highly contagious-- meaning, it spread from one person to another. People who had smallpox had a fever and a distinctive, progressive skin rash. Thanks to the success of vaccination, smallpox was eradicated. And it is normally spread by breathing in air, which is contaminated with droplets of moisture, breathed in by an infected person. It can also be spread by coming in contact with the infected person.