Monkeypox (monkeypoxvirus, genus orthopoxvirus) is caused by a virus. It is a variant of the virus that causes "common" smallpox.
The following symptoms appear about 5 to 21 days after infection:
- General malaise
- Muscle pain
This is followed by skin lesions: (red) spots, pimples, blisters or festering lumps, which then crust before healing. These skin lesions can be spread all over the body.
There are no approved treatments for the moment, but the disease usually heals spontaneously after a few weeks with no residual lesions.
You can get monkeypox by:
- Contact with body fluids, such as wound fluids
- Contact with mucous membranes and saliva droplets
- Contaminated surfaces or linen (such as bed sheets or towels)
There is no increased risk for the general traveller.
Most cases of monkeypox have been identified in forested areas in Central and West Africa, namely in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. However, since May 2022, there have also been several cases in European and American countries.