The International Council of Nurses (ICN) called on countries to take action in order to safeguard nurses and other medical staff who are caring for patients who are infected with the monkeypox virus today. With more than 16 000 cases reported from 75 nations and territories, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox a global health emergency. As a nurse, you undoubtedly are aware of the fact that monkeypox is presently spreading. However, there are frequently misconceptions and urban lore about what it is and how it spreads.
What exactly is monkeypox, and what led to the present outbreak?
The virus that causes monkeypox is a member of the family Poxviridae, which is best known for producing smallpox, cowpox, and Molluscum contagium, a condition that resembles a common wart. (Despite having the same name as a pox, chickenpox is really caused by the herpes virus.)
Animals are linked to monkeypox as its primary hosts, including rodents and some vertebrates like monkeys. In 1958, monkeys in Central and West Africa were found to have the illness for the first time. Since then, it has spread to human communities and is endemic in nine African nations' human populations. Outside of Africa, it has remained a rare illness up to this point.
What signs are present?
According to the CDC, symptoms often start to manifest a few weeks following virus exposure or infection. This could happen most frequently during intimate touch. Monkeypox symptoms could include:
- A rash that can resemble pimples or blisters and develops on the face, within the mouth, as well as other areas of the body such the hands, feet, chest, or genital area.
- An increase in body temperature
- Back pain and muscle aches
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Respiration issues (such as a sore throat, nasal congestion or cough)
Before healing, the rash may go through a number of stages, including scab formation or becoming uncomfortable and irritating. While some people may first develop a rash before developing additional symptoms, some people may only develop a rash. Monkeypox can be spread to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, through droplets or contact with the rash, despite the fact that the majority of the early cases were found in gay males. Children and heterosexual people have both contracted the sickness in some instances.
Exposure through recovery
After exposure to monkeypox, the median incubation period lasts 12 days. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, muscular pains, and backaches, as well as swollen lymph nodes, are among the early warning signs and symptoms of smallpox, in contrast to the majority of other symptoms. A vesicular rash occurs three days later. It typically begins on the face and spreads to other regions of the body, however, this isn't always the case. Similar to smallpox, the lesions progress through different phases before becoming scabs that eventually come off. There is a two- to four-week symptom cycle.
Electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction-based assays, and gene sequencing are among the methods that can be used to validate the diagnosis.
Measures for general public health that are comparable to COVID-19 measures can aid in lowering the risk of spreading monkeypox. Avoid being in close proximity to somebody who has a known or suspected case of monkeypox. Self-exclude when unwell or suffering from sores Exercise good hand hygiene habits and respiratory etiquette. Practice safe sex.
If you are unable to avoid close contact with someone (such as a family member), who has a suspected or confirmed monkeypox illness, speak with your local public health unit for advice.
Monkeypox patients receive supportive care. Put him in a secluded or a negative-pressure room if possible. Start contact, droplet, and airborne precautions. If bodily fluids could spill or spray, wear goggles or a face shield. Follow infection control guidelines to the letter when it comes to hand washing, equipment disinfection, and waste disposal.
The ICN calls on national nursing associations to actively engage in spreading awareness of and education about monkeypox, take action against stigma and discrimination and support the establishment of a safe practice environment, including the use of protective tools and materials, that enables nursing staff to be protected from monkeypox exposure while also enabling them to provide patients with adequate care.