What is monkeypox and how is it transmitted? Qatar Health Ministry explains

Doha: Confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in nearly 20 countries across the globe so far.  In line with this, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) shared valuable information about the viral disease. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Ministry stated that "monkeypox is a rare disease and belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, though it typically causes milder symptoms." 

It was first identified in 1958 in monkey colonies followed by a human case in 1970 at the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Outbreaks of monkeypox has also been reported the following years across Central and West Africa. 

"Clinically it causes an illness that resembles smallpox-a related infection declared eradicated worldwide in 1980," MoPH stated. 

The Ministry affirmed that monkeypox is less contagious compared to the smallpox and it also causes less severe illness. 

Furthermore, MoPH also explained that the disease is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal. Contaminated materials such as clothing and bed linen can also be a form of transmission. 

"Monkeypox virus is much less transmissible than COVID-19 and seasonal influenza," said MoPH. 

Household contacts are also at the greatest risk of infection. 

On Sunday, the Ministry of Public Health had announced that no cases of monkeypox has been detected in Qatar so far. 

Furthermore, the Ministry affirmed that the healthcare sector is fully prepared to manage any suspected or confirmed cases of the disease.

Healthcare professionals, in public and private sectors, have also been asked by the Ministry to monitor potential patients exhibiting monkeypox symptoms and to report any suspected case to the health authorities.