The most common symptoms of monkeypox are fever, rash, swollen lymph glands, and feeling generally unwell (malaise). These symptoms are similar to those of other viral illnesses, such as chickenpox Figure 01.
The first noticeable symptom of monkeypox is usually fever. The fever usually starts 12 days after exposure to the monkeypox virus but can begin 7 to 21 days after exposure.
The most common symptoms of monkeypox include:
- Cough or nasal congestion
- Fever of 99.3° F (37.4° C) or above
- Swollen lymph glands in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Feeling tired or generally unwell
Other symptoms that may occur include:
- Chills or sweats
- Sore throat
- Headache, backache, or muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
The rash of monkeypox starts as a discolored spot on the skin that starts out flat, but becomes raised. The lesions then become filled with fluid (pus) and may resemble a blister. Later, the lesions crust over. The rash can cover a wide area of the body, or it can be limited to a small area Figure 01.
Figure 01. Monkeypox lesions of a child
You are at risk of contracting monkeypox if you have been in close contact with an infected exotic pet.
If you have been exposed to an ill exotic pet that was obtained after April 15, 2003, contact your clinician. Exotic pets that may carry monkeypox include:
- Prairie dogs
- Tree squirrels
- Rope squirrels
- Gambian giant pouched rats
- Brush-tailed porcupines
- Striped mice
Monkeypox can be dangerous, especially for pregnant women and children under the age of 1.
It is important for anyone who thinks they have monkeypox to seek medical attention. However, children and pregnant women are especially at risk for contracting monkeypox and having serious consequences from it. Children and pregnant women should avoid contact with exotic pets that may have the virus, and should not be in a house that has an animal or a person suffering from monkeypox.
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