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Monkeypox Explained: From Symptoms To Risk Factors, Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to Smallpox

Monkeypox Explained: From Symptoms To Risk Factors, Here’s Everything You Need To Know
The global outbreak of Monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning, said WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that is transmitted from animals to humans
  • The first infection in a human was discovered in 1970
  • The typical symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, muscle ache, skin rash

New Delhi: India reported its second case of monkeypox in Kerala’s Kannur district on Monday (July 18). The 31-year-old patient, who travelled from Dubai, is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital. The first case of the monkeypox virus in India was discovered on July 14 after a UAE traveller returned to Kerala. The patient has been admitted to Thiruvananthapuram medical college. Since early May 2022, cases of Monkeypox have been reported from countries where there was no history of Monkeypox. Since 1970, human cases of Monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries where it is endemic – that is the cases are often reported there. In a media briefing on June 14, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus shared the latest data on the spread of the disease and said, “This year, more than 1,600 confirmed cases and almost 1,500 suspected cases of Monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 39 countries – including seven countries where Monkeypox has been detected for years, and 32 newly-affected countries. The global outbreak of Monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning.”

Also Read: Monkeypox Not As Contagious As COVID-19, Says COVID Panel Chief

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to Smallpox. While Smallpox was eradicated in 1980, Monkeypox continues to occur in countries of Central and West Africa. Two distinct clades are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade, states WHO.

Is Monkeypox A New Disease?

Dr Rosamund Lewis, Technical Lead for Monkeypox, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, in WHO’s special series Science In 5 said,

Monkeypox was first discovered in a monkey in 1958 and hence the name. However, the first infection in a human was discovered in 1970 in a small child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since that time, increasing numbers of cases have been recognised. And in particular, over the last 5 to 10 years. What’s different now is that we’re seeing cases in other countries that normally don’t have Monkeypox. And this is very unusual.

What Are The Symptoms Of Monkeypox?

The typical symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions. The WHO recommends distinguishing Monkeypox from other illnesses such as Chickenpox, Measles, Bacterial skin infections, Scabies, Syphilis and medication-associated allergies.

The rash usually begins within one to three days of the start of a fever. Lesions can be flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, and can then crust, dry up and fall off. The number of lesions on one person can range from a few to several thousand. The rash tends to be concentrated on the face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. They can also be found on the mouth, genitals and eyes. Symptoms typically last between 2 to 4 weeks and go away on their own without treatment, explains WHO.

Also Read: India’s New Covid Cases Cross The 10,000 Mark, Highest In 3-Months: Things To Know

How Does Monkeypox Spread?

Monkeypox spreads through close face to face, skin to skin and direct contact. WHO says that the disease can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.

Who Is At Risk, And How Can They Protect Themselves?

Dr Lewis from WHO informed that at the moment, the people who are most exposed appear to be men who have sex with men or others who may be in contact with them, including family members.

While we’re talking about who is most at risk, of course, it’s really important not to generate stigma against population groups that are at risk. This includes men who have sex with men. It can also include people who are traveling from different countries who may be carrying the virus without knowing it, Dr Lewis said.

Since most human Monkeypox infections result from a primary animal-to-human transmission, WHO suggests avoiding contact with sick or dead animals. It also recommends properly cooking all foods containing animal meat or parts of it.

Close contact with infected people or contaminated materials should be avoided. Gloves and other personal protective clothing and equipment should be worn while taking care of the sick, whether in a health facility or in the home, says WHO.

Also Read: COVID-19: INSACOG Confirms Presence Of BA.4, BA.5 Omicron Sub-Variants In India

Why Is WHO Concerned About The “Unusual” Outbreak?

WHO has described the risk of Monkeypox as moderate because the disease is spreading in locations where it has never been reported before. Hence, the concern.

Is There A Vaccine Against Monkeypox?

As per WHO, there are several vaccines available for prevention of Smallpox that also provide some protection against Monkeypox. A newer vaccine that was developed for Smallpox (MVA-BN, also known as Imvamune, Imvanex or Jynneos) was approved in 2019 for use in preventing Monkeypox BUT is not yet widely available.

In its interim guidance on Smallpox and Monkeypox vaccines, released on June 14, WHO has said that mass vaccination is not required nor recommended for Monkeypox at this time.

Also Read: New Computer Model Can Help Assess The Impact And Progression Of Infectious Diseases Including COVID-19 In Detail

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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