City-based dermatologists have cautioned against ignoring signs of rashes within one to three days of fever, as the same can be that of monkeypox.
The most prominent sign and symptom is on the largest and outermost organ system – skin.
“A monkeypox rash begins with macules, which is nothing but colour change of certain areas on your skin. In monkeypox, these areas turn red and then progress to a more aggravated condition called papules which means that there is a distinctive change in the texture of the skin, red lumps and bumps may appear following this, and eventually lead to blisters filled with white pus-like fluid, which make it look a lot like chickenpox. However, as the infection runs its course, these lesions begin to dry out and scab over, and eventually fall off,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, Chief Consultant, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex.
He said that a monkeypox rash begins with the face, and can sometimes even start inside the mouth. It then spreads to arms, legs, hands, feet as well as the rest of the body, including genitals.
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“These lesions are highly contagious, and continue to stay so for up to four weeks after the initial symptoms are noticed and can contaminate bedsheets and clothes, and spread to other individuals. The first thing to do before you examine your rash is to ask yourself if you have been exposed to the virus – if you have come in contact with a person who has travelled overseas recently or have been abroad recently yourself. If the answer is no, then the probability of being infected is far lesser,” said Dr Sharma. People can suffer from scarring of skin after crusted lesions heal. “Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox caused by the monkeypox virus. This virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae,” he said.
Dr Sharma, Director, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, explains that skin eruption (rash) usually begins within one to three days of appearance of fever. “It affects the face (in 95% of cases), and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75%) and also affected are oral mucous membranes (in 70% of cases), genitalia (30%) and conjunctivae (20%), as well as the cornea,” he said.