MPox: What it is and how to avoid it


Have you heard of MPox? It’s not the latest music sensation, but something that can certainly disrupt your rhythm. Here's everything you need to know to stay healthy and MPox-free.

What is MPox?

MPox – short for monkeypox – is a rare but troublesome viral disease. Despite its name, it doesn’t only affect monkeys; humans can catch it too, usually through close contact with an infected person or animal.

The disease is caused by the MPox virus, a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. While there are more than 80 known poxviruses, including those that infect birds, insects, reptiles, marsupials and mammals, only a few, such as the smallpox (variola) virus and molluscum contagiosum virus, are known to cause diseases in humans.

According to recent reports South Africa has received its first shipment of treatment medications to combat the Mpox outbreak, as the number of confirmed cases in the country climbed to over 10.

The arrival of these medications marks a crucial step in the country's efforts to control the spread of the virus and protect its population.

Symptoms of MPox

So, how do you know if you’ve got MPox? Look out for these signs:

  • Fever: usually one of the first symptoms
  • Rash: a bumpy, often itchy rash that can spread across the body
  • Swollen lymph nodes: those small glands might get a bit puffy
  • Muscle aches: feeling sore and achy all over
  • Headaches: annoying, but manageable

Symptoms usually appear within five to 21 days after exposure. They can last from two to four weeks, but most people recover fully.

How to avoid MPox

Prevention is key! Here’s how to stay MPox-free:

  • Practise good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Hand sanitiser works too.
  • Protective gear: If you’re in an area with a known outbreak, wearing a mask and gloves can help.
  • Cook meat thoroughly: Make sure any meat you eat is well-cooked to kill potential viruses.
  • Vaccination: In some cases, getting vaccinated might be recommended, especially if you're in a high-risk area.
  • Stay informed: Keeping yourself informed about MPox and other health issues is always a good idea.

Here are a few government resources on Mpox: