WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus, which transmits disease from animals to humans, with symptoms very similar to smallpox but less severe. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which is usually mild and from which most people recover in a few weeks. It is related to smallpox, which killed millions around the world every year before its eradication in 1980, but has far less severe symptoms. The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the wider public is said to be very low.  Outbreaks of the virus have been found in Europe, Australia and America. * The symptoms often include a fever and rash - but the infection is usually mild and clears up on its own, lasting between 2 and 4 weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus can be contained with the right response in countries outside of Africa where it is not usually detected.

MONKEYPOX ORIGINS

  • Discovered in 1958  in colonies of research monkeys. First human case identified in 1970 in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Occurs mostly in remote parts of Central and West Africa
  • Virus has two main types - West African strain thought to be milder than Central African variant

HUMAN-TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION

  • Via respiratory droplets - requires prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Close contact with body fluids or lesions, or by touching contaminated clothing or bedding

GENERAL SYMPTOMS

Incubation: Time from infection to symptoms can range from 5-21 days.

Initial illness: Fever, headache, muscle aches, swellings, exhaustion.

Itchy rash: May develop on face, then spread to hands and feet.

Lesions: Go through various stages until scabs form and fall off. Lesions can cause scarring.

Outcome: Illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks. In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to be fatal in up to 1 in 10 people who contract disease.

Treatment: Smallpox vaccine proven to be 85% effective against monkeypox. Antiviral drugs could help relieve symptoms.

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WHAT DISEASE IS CAUSED BY TSETSE FLY?

The tsetse fly bites humans and sucks their blood. This causes sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease accompanied by fever, headache, and joint pain. It also causes trouble sleeping. It is said that thousands die in Africa every year from the disease.

In the tropical regions of Africa, the bloodsucking tsetse fly carries deadly diseases to humans and other animals. It is a brownish-colored insect, only a little larger than the common housefly. When it is at rest its wings close flat on the back and are completely overlapping, whereas those of the housefly are held somewhat erect and spread. There are 21 known species of the tsetse fly. Some carry the disease trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) from one human victim to another. Others carry the disease nagana to cattle and other animals.

When the fly bites an infected victim, the insect draws into its own bloodstream a parasite called a trypanosome. After going through a stage of development in the fly, the parasite is transferred to the next victim. Thus the disease, caused by the parasite, is passed from person to person, from animal to animal, through the bite of the fly. The disease is so called because in the last stages of the illness the victim falls into a sleep, which often ends in death.

The tsetse fly breeds in brushy places in tropical forests and on the edges of rivers and lakes. The female, unlike most insects, does not lay eggs. Instead, she deposits on the ground a single full-grown larva at intervals of about two weeks. The larva hides in brush and immediately goes into the pupal stage, from which it emerges as a mature fly.

Tsetse flies belong to the genus Glossina of the family Glossinidae, which is related to the Muscidae. The scientific name of the commonest carrier of African sleeping sickness is G. palpalis. The principal carrier of nagana is G. morsitans.

Trypanosomiasis is generally not found in the United States except in people who have traveled to Africa. Early symptoms include headache, fever, and muscle aches. Later, you may experience mental confusion or coma. Trypanosomiasis causes swelling in the brain and is fatal, if untreated. If you’ve been bitten by a tsetse fly, your doctor can run simple blood tests for sleeping sickness. Antitrypanosomal medications, such as pentamidine, are highly effective in treating sleeping sickness.

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What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is an aggressive form of chemical drug therapy meant to destroy rapidly growing cells in the body. It’s usually used to treat cancer, as cancer cells grow and divide faster than other cells.

A doctor who specializes in cancer treatment is known as an oncologist. They’ll work with you to come up with your treatment plan.

Chemotherapy has been proven to effectively attack cancer cells, but it can cause serious side effects that can severely impact your quality of life. You should weigh these side effects against the risk of going untreated when deciding if chemotherapy is right for you.

Chemotherapy is also used to prepare you for other treatments. It could be used to shrink a tumor so it can be surgically removed, or to prepare you for radiation therapy.

In the case of late-stage cancer, chemotherapy may help relieve pain.

Besides treatment for cancer, chemotherapy may be used to prepare people with bone marrow diseases for a bone marrow stem cell treatment, and it may be used for immune system disorders.

Credit : Healthline 

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What is biopsy?

In some cases, your doctor may decide that he or she needs a sample of your tissue or your cells to help diagnose an illness or identify a cancer. The removal of tissue or cells for analysis is called a biopsy.

While a biopsy may sound scary, it’s important to remember that most are entirely pain-free and low-risk procedures. Depending on your situation, a piece of skin, tissue, organ, or suspected tumor will be surgically removed and sent to a lab for testing.

If you have been experiencing symptoms normally associated with cancer, and your doctor has located an area of concern, he or she may order a biopsy to help determine if that area is cancerous.

A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnosis most cancers. Imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays can help identify areas of concerns, but they can’t differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous cells.

Biopsies are typically associated with cancer, but just because your doctor orders a biopsy, it doesn’t mean that you have cancer. Doctors use biopsies to test whether abnormalities in your body are caused by cancer or by other conditions.

For example, if a woman has a lump in her breast, an imaging test would confirm the lump, but a biopsy is the only way to determine whether it’s breast cancer or another noncancerous condition, such as polycystic fibrosis.

Credit : Healthline 

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What does it mean when a tumour is malignant?

A tumor (also called neoplasm) is an abnormal mass of cells in the body. It is caused by cells dividing more than normal or not dying when they should. Tumors can be classified as benign or malignant.

Malignant tumors have cells that grow uncontrollably and spread locally and/or to distant sites. Malignant tumors are cancerous (ie, they invade other sites). They spread to distant sites via the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. This spread is called metastasis. Metastasis can occur anywhere in the body and most commonly is found in the liver, lungs, brain, and bone.

Malignant tumors can spread rapidly and require treatment to avoid spread. If they are caught early, treatment is likely to be surgery with possible chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If the cancer has spread, the treatment is likely to be systemic, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

The cancer cells that move to other parts of the body are the same as the original ones, but they have the ability to invade other organs. If lung cancer spreads to the liver, for example, the cancer cells in the liver are still lung cancer cells.

Credit : JAMA Network 

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