Monkeypox outbreak declared a global health emergency: Here’s all you need to know about the virus

We are joined by two experts who can shed light on the fundamentals of the illness, the reasons why the current outbreak is so uncommon, and the treatments available.

Updated on Jul 30, 2022 06:53 PM IST  |  52.6K
Monkey pox
Monkeypox outbreak declared a global health emergency: Here’s all you need to know about the virus

In contrast to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, which the world has only recently begun to recover from, the discovery of the fatal disease monkeypox in the US and Europe has alarmed many nations and wreaked havoc. Even monkeypox has been deemed a global public health emergency by the WHO. This indicates that the monkeypox sickness should be addressed immediately and that effective protection and care are also vital. In India as well, as in many other nations, the number of cases of monkeypox is rapidly rising.

Today, we are joined by two specialists who can provide us insight on the disease's basics, the reasons why the present outbreak is so unusual, and how to cure it.

In Denmark, where monkey colonies were being used for research, outbreaks of a pox-like disease took place in the late 1940s, leading to the discovery of monkeypox. "Monkey pox is an illness caused by the monkey pox virus," says Dr. Aditya Chowti, who is a Senior Consultant-Internal Medicine with Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road. “It is a vital zoonotic infection that can transmit from animals to humans and from person to person.”

Know the symptoms of monkeypox and its complications

Numerous symptoms and indicators are associated with monkey pox. While some people only experience minor symptoms, others may experience more severe symptoms and require care or hospital care.

Dr. Chowti continues, “Those who are that higher risk for severe disease or complications like patients who are immunocompromised, pregnant women and children are prone to the Monkey Pox virus. The commonly seen symptoms are fever, headache, muscle ache, low back pain, lymph nodes and rashes that last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found in the face, the palms, the soles of the feet, at the throat, the groin, and sometimes the genital areas as well. Symptoms can usually last for two to three weeks and generally is self-limiting. It would go away on their own and they could also require some supportive care. Also, basic medication for pain and fever might be required.”

Discover how Monkeypox usually spreads

Dr. Satish Koul, Director of Internal Medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, provides us with information on the usual and novel aspects of this outbreak of monkey pox. He claims, “Since 1970 human cases have been reported in about 11 African countries. Cases occur occasionally in non-endemic countries. Monkey pox is seen in persons who travelled from endemic countries. The outbreak was caused by contact with animals who had been infected by other small animals. In May 2022, multiple cases of monkey pox are being identified in several non-endemic countries. This is not typical of the past patterns of the monkey pox spread. There is still work going on with all the affected countries to enhance the surveillance and to provide some guidance on the vaccination front.”

Dr. Aditya goes on to explain, “The spread can happen from person to person, through close contact with someone who has monkeypox rash, including face to face, skin to skin, mouth to mouth or mouth to skin contact, it is also seen preceding due to sexual contact. There is a lot of learning going on how people infected with a monkey pox virus are infectious.”

Concerns regarding spread of the contagion and preventative measures

Although the number of cases is anticipated to increase dramatically over the following two to three weeks, this is not the start of another pandemic. The airborne virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19 spreads far more rapidly than monkeypox. People ought to pay attention to their doctor's recommendations in order to safeguard themselves against the same. Dr. Aditya provides us with the following advice: “Symptoms normally are resolved on their own and without the need of any intensive treatment. If needed, medication for pain fever can be used to relive the symptoms. It is important for everyone to remain hydrated, eat well and get enough sleep. One should also be self-isolated because this is a highly infectious disease. It can spread from person to person.”

Dr. Satish Koul provides us with information on the first case of the outbreak in the nation's capital and the fourth overall, saying, “As we all know, Delhi has reported its first case of monkeypox in a young man who had recently attended a party in Himachal Pradesh. We should all know about the transmission root of this virus. It spreads by close contact, skin to skin contact and droplet infection. So, we have to be careful about all these factors. If you have fever, have a history of travel recently, or you have come in contact with somebody who has manifested symptoms of Monkey Pox, you should immediately seek consultations from your physician. As of now, prevention is the cure.”

The viral outbreak should serve as a reminder that we require a robust public health sector in order to safeguard us against such things. The present outbreak has once again shown how crucial it is to make long-term investments in scientific research in order to be better prepared for all scenarios. The COVID-19 exposed flaws in our impoverished public health system. Our strongest defence is, indeed, public health.

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