Sample Research Paper on Nursing: What is Monkeypox?

Research PaperNursing
May 24, 2022

A research paper is a written project that provides a discussion around a specific topic using information from scholarly sources. This coursework is essential to studying nursing since student nurses are expected to base their practice on scientific data and empirical evidence. This sample  nursing research paper discusses the new outbreak of the disease monkeypox including its cause, symptoms, and treatment.

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19 in late 2019 saw the world enter one of the most challenging crises in modern history. Since that time, over 526 million people have been infected by the virus while the death toll has reached over 6.2 million globally (University of Oxford, 2022). Furthermore, the pandemic has had an extensive impact on the global economy . Fortunately, there have been signs that the pandemic is abating, having been aided by the development of effective COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of less virulent variants like the omicron variant that appeared in late 2021. But even as countries and economies are opening up and people are regaining pre-pandemic levels of normalcy, another disease has emerged, causing concern and apprehension in certain regions. This disease is known as monkeypox. What exactly is monkeypox? Is it contagious and fatal? What are its treatments? This paper provides some basic information on this disease including its causative agent, mode of transmission, symptoms, and treatment among others.

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Causative Agent

The causative agent of monkeypox is a virus belonging to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the Poxviridae family. This genus also includes viruses that cause diseases in humans such as cowpox and smallpox. Monkeypox is a fairly new disease, having been first identified in 1958 by the Danish virologist Preben von Magnus among macaque monkeys that were being kept in a laboratory for research (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2022). It was not until 1970, however, that the first case of monkeypox was detected in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, there have been sporadic outbreaks of the disease in various regions including 338 cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1980s and another 511 cases in the same country in the 1990s. Another monkey virus clade (a group that shares a common ancestor with other clades) has also been identified to have come from Western Africa. Estimations of cases have been hampered by many challenges, but epidemiologists believe that annual cases may be around 2,000 every year. There are also signs this number is rising and that the geographical scope is expanding (Sklenovska & Van Ranst, 2018).

Mode of Transmission

A person can be infected with the monkeypox virus in different ways. One is through an animal bite or direct contact with the body fluids of the infected host. Animals that serve as hosts include monkeys, rodents, and anteaters. The virus can enter the body through breaks in the skin including wounds that are too small to be visible. It can also enter through mucous membranes such as those in the mouth, nose, and eyes. Furthermore, there is evidence that the virus can be transmitted through respiratory droplets as well as through contact with contaminated objects known as fomites (CDC, 2022). Monkeypox was previously thought to be acquired only from animals, but the 2022 outbreak proved that human-to-human transmission does occur, usually through close contact such as staying in the same bedroom, sharing utensils, and intimate relations. It is nowhere near as transmissible as COVID (Bunge et al., 2022; Lewis, 2022).

Symptoms

Once a person has been infected, it may take five to 21 days before symptoms start to appear. Symptoms during the onset of the disease may include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and a headache. Skin changes also occur as a rash similar to that found in measles, smallpox, and chickenpox appears. But monkeypox can be differentiated by the presence of swollen glands in areas such as the groins, neck, and near the jaws and ears. The rash often appears on the face first before spreading to other parts of the body. The rash first appears like flat spots (macules) that grow into bumps and eventually fill with clear fluid (vesicles) that turn yellow over time (pustules). These bumps then burst and become lesions that turn into scabs. The extent of the rash varies, with some patients showing just a few and others showing hundreds. The disease typically lasts from two to four weeks. The case fatality ratio or CFR also varies, with the clade from the Congo having a CFR of up to 10% while the West African clade has around 1% (World Health Organization [WHO], 2022).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of a suspected case of monkeypox involves an examination of the clinical presentation and laboratory testing. As mentioned, the characteristic rash of monkeypox can be distinguished from similar diseases caused by viruses of the Orthopoxvirus genus by the presence of lymphadenopathy. Specimens containing the virus can also be collected for the conduction of a polymerase chain reaction test that identifies genetic material. Specimens are best taken from fluid from vesicles or pustules and dried-up crusts or scabs (WHO, 2022).

There is currently no cure for monkeypox and treatment tends to focus on the alleviation of symptoms and prevention of complications. Approaches to treatment include maintaining adequate fluid and nutrition status and treating secondary infections that may arise. One study has also identified the antiviral agent tecovirimat as a possible drug. One study found that tecovirimat may be capable of shortening the duration of illness and the period of contagiousness among patients (Fischer & Lewis, 2022). Originally developed for smallpox, tecovirimat has received approval for use for monkeypox in Europe by the European Medical Association (WHO, 2022). Monkeypox may also be prevented through vaccination. Research has found that the smallpox vaccine can offer up to 85% protection against monkeypox. Meanwhile, the vaccine Jynneos has received approval for use in adults in the United States in 2019 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2019).

The 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak

Although monkeypox was detected more than 60 years ago, it only became well-known to the public today due to the outbreak in Europe and North America. Previous outbreaks of the disease were mostly limited to Africa, where the disease is endemic. However, the first case outside of Africa was detected in the United Kingdom in early May. The case was of a British resident who had recently traveled to Nigeria. Extensive contract tracing detected more cases. By mid-May, more cases were reported by other countries including Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, and Australia. As of writing monkeypox has been detected in 22 countries across the globe. The current outbreak is caused by the West African clade, which has a lower case fatality rate of 1%. Despite concerns, health authorities have stated that the risk is low (Tidman et al., 2022).

Conclusion

The current monkeypox virus in Europe and North America that emerged in May 2022 has captured the world’s imagination. As countries are just beginning to emerge from the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem like the world is due to another health crisis. Fortunately, health authorities consider the threat of monkeypox to public health as low. This disease is caused by a different virus and is neither as contagious nor as deadly as COVID. Still, it is important to remain informed, calm, and vigilant. This is especially true among nurses who are at the forefront of addressing the public’s health issues.

This sample research paper is just one of the many projects nursing students submit to schools. Other common ones are essays, journal entries, theses, and dissertations (for doctor of nursing practice or DNP candidates). But with exams, classes, and clinical duties taking up most of your time, you may be better off getting assistance from professional writers from CustomEssayMeister. 


References

Bunge, E. M., Hoet, B., Chen, L., Lienert, F., Weidenthaler, H., Baer, L. R., & Steffen, R. (2022). The changing epidemiology of human monkeypox—A potential threat? A systematic review. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 16(2), e0010141. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0010141

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Monkeypox . https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

Fischer, L. & Lewis, T. (2022, May 24). What we know about the rise in monkeypox cases worldwide . Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-we-know-about-the-rise-in-monkeypox-cases-worldwide/

Sklenovska, N. & Van Ranst, M. (2018). Emergence of monkeypox as the most important orthopoxvirus infection in humans. Front Public Health, 6, 241. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00241

Tidman, Z., Middleton, J., & Singh, N. (2022, May 24). Monkeypox news – live: Virus cases up to 71 in UK as fifth US state detects disease . Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/monkeypox-virus-outbreak-uk-cases-symptoms-b2085793.html

University of Oxford. (2022). Coronavirus data explorer . https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019). Jynneos. https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/jynneos

World Health Organization. (2022, May 19). Monkeypox. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox

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