Monkeypox virus arrives in Italy: what is it and what are the symptoms of this new virus?

The Monkeypox is a virus of the Orthopoxvirus group, to which “human” smallpox also belongs. There are two types of Monkeypox: one from West Africa that is the one that has been detected in the case of the United Kingdom; one from Central Africa, from the Congo Basin. In Africa it is an endemic virus.

In Italy there was the first case of Monkeypox which was isolated at the Spallanzani Institute in Rome. Many people worry that it may be a new nightmare, such as that of Covid-19. However, according to what infectivologists say in these hours, it is a virus that has existed for a long time, unlike the one that causes Covid-19, and which is much less contagious. 

The new Italian patient is a boy who has returned from a stay in the Canary archipelago. The Monkeypox virus was identified by Spallanzani doctors with genetic sequencing very quickly, using samples of the patient’s skin lesions. Now the boy is in isolation in fairly general conditions and epidemiological investigations and the tracing of his contacts are underway.

It is not the first case in Europe, others have been registered in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.

A human being can be infected with Monkeypox by another human being or by an animal, especially monkeys, but also rodents and dogs. It can contract the virus through a bite or direct contact with blood, body fluids, or injury from an infected animal. Among humans, contagion occurs orally during prolonged and close direct contact, in fact, the main cause of transmission of the virus between human beings would be sexual intercourse. The most obvious symptom of monkeypox is the appearance of rounded blisters on the face and body. It starts as a flu with headache, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes, then it’s the rash that leaves too much doubt. The incubation period varies from 5 to 21 days, on average the disease appears between 6 and 13 days of the infection. In most cases, Monkeypox is cured spontaneously and without specific treatment within 14-21 days, but antivirals can be given when needed.

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