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Monkeypox Vs Chickenpox: What Are The Key Differences, Doctors Explain

As the cases of Monkeypox rise in the country and around the globe, doctors explain key differences between Chickenpox and Monkeypox

Monkeypox Vs Chickenpox: What Are The Key Differences, Doctors Explain

New Delhi: Monkeypox virus threat is blooming around the globe, with over 20 countries reporting the zoonotic disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. The concern of this virus is growing in India as a 22-year-old youth has recently died in Thrissur (Kerala) who was also tested positive for monkeypox. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared monkeypox a ‘global health emergency’ due to the rising number of cases worldwide.

Amid increasing chaos and concern with the disease, it is important to know what monkeypox is and how it is different from chickenpox, which is said to be somewhat similar to the illness. Doctors have also claimed that patients around the globe are getting confused and misinterpretation about the disease. Here are the key differences between the two diseases:

Also Read: Sexual Contact Not The Only Cause For Monkeypox: WHO Chief Scientist

1. Only Skin Rashes In Chickenpox, Monkeypox Has More Symptoms

Dr Ramanjit Singh, visiting consultant, dermatology, Medanta Hospital said that Monkeypox usually starts with fever, malaise, headache, sometimes sore throat and cough, and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes). He added that all these symptoms appear four days prior to skin lesions, rashes and other problems which primarily start from the hand and eyes and spread to the whole body.

2. In Monkeypox, Lesions Are Bigger Than Chickenpox

Dr Satish Koul, Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute said that in Monkeypox disease the lesions are bigger than chickenpox. He also said that in Monkeypox, the lesions are seen on palms and soles.

3. Chickenpox Gets Treated On Its Own, Monkeypox Requires Treatment

Dr Koul further elaborated on the difference and said, “In chickenpox, lesions are self-limiting after seven to eight days but not so in monkeypox.

Also Read: Monkeypox Scare In India: How Severe Is The Disease And Should We Be Worried? Experts Explain

4. Chickenpox Lesions Are Itchy, Monkeypox Lesions Are Non-itchy

Dr Koul also added that the lesions are vesicular and itchy in chickenpox, whereas, in monkeypox, the lesions are broad vesicular and non-itchy. He also said the duration of fever is longer in monkeypox and such a patient has enlarged lymph nodes.

5. Virus Is Different In Both Diseases

Elaborating on the virus that causes chickenpox, Dr S C L Gupta, medical director of Batra Hospital, said chickenpox is a Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus that is not as severe but it too leads to rashes on the skin. He further said that “This is the season of chickenpox. Usually, during monsoon, there is this dampness, rise in temperature, water logging, formation of moisture and wet clothes, all these leads to growth of the virus.”

Talking about monkeypox, Dr S C L Gupta explained that such virus requires an animal host but is self-limiting with sore throat, fever and normal virus signs. He added,

“The main sign of this virus is the rashes on the body which have liquids inside. This leads to a viral infection which weakens the body’s resistance. But problems arise due to its complication. In case, any bacterial infection and gets pusses and leads to blisters leading further complications in the body. Right now, monkeypox is at its juvenile stage. We do not have proper treatment. We are just following the method of isolation and treating the suspected patient according to their symptoms. If there is a throat infection, we use the generic medicines that we usually take. So, here it is a case of symptomatic treatment.”

Apart from the differences, another question that everyone is asking about the monkeypox virus is if the previous chickenpox infection makes a patient immune to monkeypox.

Answering this, Dr Rajinder Kumar Singal, Senior Director and Head of Department, Internal Medicine, BLK Max Hospital, New Delhi, said, “Both are caused by different viruses, the mode of transmission is different, and the previous infection does not ensure any protection against the new one. But those who have received the smallpox vaccination have lesser chances of contracting monkeypox.”

Also Read: Five Things To Know About Monkeypox

He further added that the smallpox vaccine was discontinued after the WHO said the disease had been completely eradicated around 1979-80. People born before 1980 who have taken the smallpox vaccine have lesser chances of contracting monkeypox. Both smallpox and monkeypox are caused by viruses of the same family.

Due to the similarity between smallpox and monkeypox, many countries have allowed smallpox vaccines to be given but in India, it is still not allowed.

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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