Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when a global outbreak of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys kept for research. Mpox or monkeypox is a virus that is in the same family as the smallpox virus but is less contagious than Covid-19. The fatality rate of the disease is very low but, it is a painful disease that can lead to severe illness and death. 

In this article, we will discuss the monkeypox virus with Dr. Hanif Kamal – Infectious Disease Specialist, who will briefly explain the monkeypox virus, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can cause a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Most people fully recover, but some get very sick. It causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, and a rash that can take weeks to clear. The virus can spread through close contact with someone who is infected. According to Dr. Kamal, “Monkeypox is a very rare viral infection spread through skin contact from human-to-human, human-to-animal or through any contaminated material that has been in contact with rashes or body fluids of an infected person such as clothing, bedding, towels, or other objects.” 

The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus from the placenta, or from an infected parent to child during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.

Dr. Kamal further says,” Monkeypox can be spread through physical intimacy or sexual contact, such as kissing, hugging, cuddling and sexual intercourse.”  

Signs and Symptoms

Monkeypox symptoms may start 5 to 21 days after a person is exposed. The time between when a person is exposed and when they have symptoms is called the incubation period. Monkeypox symptoms last 2 to 4 weeks and the early symptoms of monkeypox include the following:

▪ Fever

▪ Skin rash

▪ Headache

▪ Muscle aches and backache

▪ Chills

▪ Fatigue

▪ Swollen lymph nodes

Not everyone with monkeypox develops all the symptoms. It is possible to have monkeypox and not know it. Even if someone does not show many signs of infection, they may still spread it to others through prolonged close contact.

For some people, the virus may begin from the common cold and flu following a fever and skin rash or vice versa for others. The rash often first appears on the face, hands, chest, feet, or genital area and then spreads to other parts of the body. “The rash can look like pimples or blisters and can be very painful,” says, Dr. Kamal. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing over 2 to 4 weeks.

Children, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems are at high-risk risk for complications from the monkeypox virus.


To diagnose monkeypox, the doctor will take a swab from an open sore (skin lesion) and send it to a lab for PCR testing which can detect the virus. The doctor may also take a blood sample to check for the monkeypox virus or antibodies that the immune system makes.


There is no specific treatment for monkeypox virus infection. Treatment will depend on how sick someone gets or whether they are likely to get severely ill. For most people, the aim is to relieve the symptoms which often resolve on their own. Care may involve drinking enough liquids and pain management. It is important to take care of the rash by letting it dry if possible or covering it.


There are a few steps to help prevent the spread of monkeypox. They include:

▪ Limit close contact with people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox or who have signs and symptoms of monkeypox, including fever and rash

▪ Avoid handling clothes, sheets, blankets, or other materials that have been in contact with an infected animal or person

▪ Isolate people who have monkeypox from healthy people

▪ Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts

▪ Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose

▪ Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer

▪ Avoid animals that may carry the virus

▪ Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

▪ Practice safe sex


Monkeypox does not spread like Covid-19 through the air in fact, monkeypox is primarily spread through prolonged, direct, skin-to-skin contact. However, monkeypox is far less contagious than COVID-19. Nonetheless, early supportive care is important to help manage symptoms of the monkeypox virus and avoid further complications.

To book an appointment with Dr. Hanif Kamal – Infectious Disease Specialist at the Shifaam Online Clinic, click, download the Shifaam Health App or call us at 021-37132273. You can also message us on WhatsApp: 0347-7222273. 

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If you or someone in your family develops a new rash that looks like pimples or blisters, or has other possible symptoms of monkeypox, you should see an infectious disease specialist in Karachi immediately. For more information on Infectious Disease Specialist in Karachi or an appointment with general physicians click on the links below:


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