The outbreak of Monkeypox virus:
The outbreak of the viral disease monkeypox was confirmed in May 2022, with a cluster of cases found in the United Kingdom. This outbreak is still ongoing and if not curbed can turn around like a corona pandemic! Isn’t it shocking?
The first confirmed case came out on 6 May, 2022 from a person who showed travel history to Nigeria, where this disease is endemic although prior to that cases emerged in Europe as well. Around 18 May, cases were simultaneously reported from America, Asia, Africa and Australia. As of 27 June, 2022 the WHO confirmed it as an evolving health threat rather than Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Death of one immunocompromised individual was confirmed by WHO.
It has been identified that men who have sex with men also have more chances of getting monkey pox however, it has been emphasized that any one catch a disease who has come in direct contact with symptomatic person. The outbreak has been contained as of now and of low impact in countries which have been recently affected. Nonetheless, urgent action is required to reduce the undetected transmission so that it does not lead to community spread like COVID and a “herd disease”.
What causes monkeypox and what are its symptoms?
The virus strain that is responsible is Monkeypox Virus (MPV) which started in 2017-2019 as an outbreak subclade and clade. Its symptoms are fever, chills, headaches, fatigue, non-specific symptoms like muscle pains, swollen glands, swollen lymph nodes, and then rash with blisters or crusts that last a couple of weeks before clearing up. It manifests after a week or two of exposure. Outside West Africa, the first outbreak was in London. Infections in children, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals are more severe. They are the chief targets of the virus.
What is the route of transmission?
This is a zoonotic disease that affects both humans and animals. Time of exposure to onset of symptoms is 5-21 days. Duration of symptoms is 2-4 weeks. Human to human transmission occurs via exposure to infected objects, contaminated body fluids, eating infected meat, droplets and airborne routes.
How can monkeypox be cured?
Although there is no known 100% cure, a new vaccine like small pox & MPV vaccine has been proved to be beneficial although it has limited availability. Regular hand washing, avoiding contact with sick people is another good option to prevent. Antiviral drugs are also given to treat afflicted patients. Deaths occur in less cases about 1-10% and most people suffering from MPV recover within a few weeks. But in Africa, the fatality cases are very huge.
This MPV is endemic in West and Central Africa. Engaging in sexual activities with an infected person is also most common route and pattern outside Africa for spread rapidly. As during involvement in sexual activity with infected person, one comes in contact with infected skin lesions however it can’t be said that monkey pox is a sexually transmitted disease. This disease now by July 2022, has spread its clutches over almost all countries on the world map. More and more cases have been found every day outside Africa and everywhere. India too could not keep itself safe from clutches of this viral disease.
Pus- filled lesions called blisters of monkeypox that crust and fall off. (Image courtesy- U.S Center for Disease Control & Prevention). These blisters can occur in any body part but are more common in mouth, vagina and anus.
How is monkeypox diagnosed?
How to prevent MPV?
Team Project Global Cure stresses on the phrase “Prevention is better than cure” always in our day-to-day lives. Each one of us should follow precautions to prevent MPV and be on the safe side!