After Covid-19, now Monkeypox is spreading rapidly throughout the world. World Health Organization already declared this diseases as a global health emergency. Monkeypox cases has crossed sixteen thousand over seventy-five countries across the world. Recently, a thirty-one year old man from west Delhi reported positive and with this case the total count of Monkeypox cases in India reaches four. This case is significant because this man has no travel history in foreign countries. Previously, there are three cases of Monkeypox reported in Kerala. Those patients are under medical observation.
Monkeypox outbreak can become a threat to global health. A coordinated response from all the countries is necessary to stop this virus from becoming a pandemic.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a kind of rare zoonotic disease caused from infection of Monkeypox virus. It is very similar to small pox with less medical severity. Monkeypox virus is from the same family of viruses namely variola virus, which causes small pox. The first human case of Monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in a nine-month old boy from Democratic Republic of Congo. Primarily, it spreads from one human to other through respiratory droplets.
There are two variants of Monkeypox which affect human body. One is West African variant and the second is Central African variant or the Congo variant. It can spread through bites of infected animals, meats of infected animals or from droplets of infected animals through aerial route. It generally transmits from one body to another through body fluids or lesion material. There is high chance of getting infected even if someone comes in contact with contaminated clothes of an infected person. It can also spread during the beginning phase of the rashes until it heals completely. This means it can spread from skin to skin contact from the infected person or animal. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directed states and union territories for strict screening of international passengers.
Generally, infected persons with Monkeypox start showing symptoms between six to twelve days of infection. Common Monkeypox symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion of swollen lymph nodes. Generally, after a week or two the infected person develops rashes and hives throughout the body. Though symptom varies from person to person like some people can develop rashes without fever or some people can develop rashes in particular part of the body etc.
Still there is no particular treatment for Monkeypox. Antiviral drugs and vaccines used to treat smallpox can be used for Monkeypox treatment because the two viruses are genetically similar. Antiviral drug Tecovirimat can be administered to those patients who are infected with Monkeypox and have a very weak immune system. A small pox vaccine Imvanex is approved by European Union to treat Monkeypox. To reduce severity and further infection a single dose of small pox vaccine can be administered. The mortality rate is between 1-10% and death risk is there for patients with comorbidity. If symptoms become severe the patient should be hospitalized without any delay. Isolation of the patient is necessary because this disease transmits through contact.
We can prevent monkeypox infection by following some precautionary measures like –
- Close skin to skin contacts with people should be avoided. People should avoid gatherings and handshakes with others.
- Do not come in contact or touch the rashes of a person infected with Monkeypox.
- Keep the cloths, utensils and towels separate of a person infected by Monkeypox.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash hands frequently with soap.
- Discussion should be done with the sexual partner about her sexual health and other symptoms.
- Take break from sex or from sexual partner if you feel any kind of symptoms of Monkeypox.
- Persons with international travel history especially in African countries should be tested and isolated.
If anybody feels fever or sickness then he have to isolate himself in home. If there are rashes then it will be recommended to stay away from people or pets as much as possible.
Mild cases of Monkeypox often remains undetected which can lead to transmission from one person to another. It started on 13th May 2022, when United Kingdom notified WHO two laboratory confirmed cases of Monkeypox. We have come to the third year of Covid-19 pandemic, but now Monkeypox can again become a medical emergency. Though specialists had said Monkeypox can only be transmitted through prolonged contact with any person who have Monkeypox or with his contaminated personal things.
Monkeypox is more or less self-limiting disease. That means it will be cured or resolved by its own. It will also not keep any harm full effect on the patient. It may lead to severe infection or death to persons with weak physical immunity and children. It is not a new disease like Covid-19. That’s why there is nothing to worry but people have to take precautions to avoid infection. Monkeypox cases in India are still less but people should follow distancing from one another to stop this disease from further spreading.