How does Monkeypox virus affect dental health?

The first case of monkeypox in humans was reported in 1970. It is evidenced to be prevalent in Central and West Africa. Many of us may think of it as a new disease but its spread, transmission, and outbreak are due to unknown reasons.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused due to microorganisms that spread between humans and animals.

The two variants of the monkeypox virus are :

  • The West African Strain
  • The Central African Strain

What are the symptoms? Does it affect dental Health?

The Monkeypox infection can initiate or manifest as :

  • Fever
  • Muscular ache
  • Headache
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Swelled up glands
  • Affected Lymph nodes
  • Rashes: Following one to five days after the initial symptoms a rash may be seen. The rashes first appear on the face and then spread to other body parts. The rashes begin as spots that are raised and then transform into blisters before they fall off. Therefore, monkeypox can often be confused with chicken pox.

Dental symptoms

An enanthem or a rash inside the mouth is also included in the initial symptoms of monkeypox and your dentist can be the first person to diagnose the disease.

monkeypox rash

How can I catch an Infection?

Usually, the infection is caused after a bite from infected animals (most commonly rodents). It can also be caused due to direct contact with the infected animal’s blood or body fluids or consumption of infected meat.

Although transmission is not common, it can happen.

The aerosols that are dispersed during dental treatments are highly infectious and can be a source of infection for dental professionals.

The monkeypox outbreak can pose a challenge to the dental profession, the same as the covid infection. The professionals have to deal with every case with proper PPE kit usage and the patients have to be aware as the dental operatory can be a source of infection.

Can monkeypox prove to be fatal?

Currently, the strain that is circulating in the U.S. and Europe is The West African variety, with around a 1 percent fatality rate. Whereas the recorded fatality rate of the Central African variety is around 10 %.

Prevention

The following measures are recommended by WHO for prevention from infection by Monkeypox virus:

  • Take proper prevention from contact and droplets.
  • If the dental procedures involve instruments that generate aerosols, precautions for airborne diseases are recommended.
  • The equipment should be sterilized and disinfected according to WHO guidelines.
  • The fabric items, linens, and towels must be collected and handled with care.

Without any doubt, Covid is highly transmissible and infectious, taking the same preventive measures for monkeypox will prove to be beneficial.

As the monkeypox virus is found to be related to the smallpox virus, smallpox vaccines are evidenced to be used in Africa for monkeypox prevention, but still, some individuals did not get vaccinated for smallpox. Also, one of the antiviral medications used to treat smallpox is licensed for the treatment of monkeypox infection.

monkeypox vaccine
General Dentistry

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