No case of monkeypox detected in Turkey (Ministry of Health)


No cases of monkeypox have so far been reported in Turkey, the country’s health ministry said on Sunday.

The disease is known to be endemic in parts of Africa, but a growing outbreak in several European and North American countries has raised fears the virus could spread around the world.

More than 100 suspected or confirmed cases have recently been detected in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

A statement from the Turkish Health Ministry explained that the viral illness is usually self-limiting with symptoms lasting between 14 and 21 days.

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox is not a new disease. The DNA virus was originally discovered in monkeys in 1958, hence its name.

The first human case occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.

Monkeypox is a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox and has very similar but clinically less severe symptoms.

It has two main strains: West Africa and Congo Basin (Central Africa).

West Africa, the milder of the two, is the one that scientists believe is currently causing infections outside of Africa, although this will only be confirmed once the required analyzes have been carried out.

Why is it in the news now?

The virus was previously known to be endemic in 11 countries in Central and West Africa, particularly Nigeria and DR Congo.

While the exact figure remains unknown, it is estimated that there are several hundred cases each year in Africa.

The virus has occasionally found its way to other parts of the globe through infected animals or humans, but the scale of the current outbreak is unprecedented.

The highly unusual spread of the virus has baffled scientists, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it expects more cases to be reported and is working on further guidance for countries on the way to stop the epidemic.

How does it spread?

Contrary to its name, the virus is most commonly found in rodents such as squirrels, rats and mice – all of which can transmit it to humans.

Transmission can also occur through close contact with infected people or contaminated objects such as clothing, towels, and sheets.

Human-to-human spread is possible through large respiratory droplets, which can be transmitted during prolonged face-to-face and close contact.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Monkeypox causes fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and skin lesions or rashes.

Swollen lymph nodes are a distinguishing feature of monkeypox compared to other illnesses that might initially appear similar such as smallpox, chickenpox, and measles.

The incubation period is on average 6 to 13 days.

The first five days are characterized by fever, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, and extreme weakness, with rashes usually beginning 1-3 days after the fever begins.

Lesions may be concentrated on the face, feet and palms, inside of the mouth, genitals and eyes.

Rashes, which can be itchy or painful, go through different stages before they finally dry up and form scabs that eventually fall off.


Travel history or contact with people with symptoms are important in diagnosing a suspected case of monkeypox.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) blood tests are unlikely to give conclusive results because the virus stays in the blood for a short time.

PCR is “the preferred laboratory test given its accuracy and sensitivity,” according to the WHO, with the best diagnostic specimens being those from skin lesions.

People who come into contact with animals or people with confirmed monkeypox infection should be monitored for symptoms for 21 days.

Can there be asymptomatic infections?

Although not known for certain, monkeypox is thought not to cause asymptomatic infections like COVID-19.

How dangerous is it?

Most cases are mild and go away on their own within 2 to 4 weeks.

However, serious infections have been observed in immunocompromised people and young children.

In recent times, the death rate has been around 3-6%, according to the WHO.

The mortality rate of the Congo Basin strain can be as high as 11%, while that of West Africa has a much lower rate of 1%.

Is the smallpox vaccine effective against monkeypox?

According to the WHO, previous data from Africa indicates that the smallpox vaccine can be up to 85% effective in preventing monkeypox infections.

However, the smallpox vaccine has not been administered since 1980, when the world was declared free of the disease, which means that a large part of the world’s population is today unvaccinated.

There is also no specific drug to treat monkeypox, but drugs with active ingredients such as cidofovir and brincidofovir have been shown to be helpful.

Is a new pandemic possible?

A new pandemic remains unlikely for several reasons.

In the absence of asymptomatic cases and very obvious symptoms of the disease, patients are usually isolated before they can infect others.

Human-to-human transmission also requires prolonged close contact, limiting potential spread between communities.

Another factor is that monkeypox is a DNA virus that does not mutate as rapidly as COVID-19.

*Written by Gozde Bayar

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Maria J. Book