Here's all you need to know about the monkeypox outbreak!

Here's all you need to know about the monkeypox outbreak!

With monkeypox cases becoming rampant across the globe, should India be worried?

At a time when COVID hasn't fully subsised yet, another cause of concern- monkeypox is now raising alarms everywhere. With 100 cases in about 12 countries, monkeypox has triggered the wave of a new health crisis across the globe. As per reports, cases are rising fast in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America, however, no such cases have been reported in India yet.

But here is the question, will India be able to battle the monkeypox outbreak and another health emergency? Here's an all you need to know guide about monkeypox, its spread, symptoms, treatment and the nation's vigil against the infection.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis, that belongs to the same family of viruses that cause smallpox and have similar symptoms. However, the monkeypox virus is much less severe and rare.

The name, ‘monkeypox’ originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958.

The roots of this infection have been traced to tropical rainforests and countries in central and west Africa, while it's name comes from its earliest detection in a Danish laboratory in 1958, when a monkey was found infection. The first human case was reported in a a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. It was, however, only in 1980 when monkeypox was declared ‘eradicated worldwide’.

The infection is rather rare outside the continent and its spread brings both, surprise and concern among authorities.

How does monkeypox spread? What are the symptoms? 

Monkeypox spreads via close contact, transmitted from one person to another through broken skin, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

While the infection has been defined in terms of sexual transmission before, it can be passed on by direct contact during intercourse. Interestingly, the current global spread is being attributed to the same.

The initial symptoms of monkeypox include, fever, headaches, swelling, aching muscles, exhaustion. Once the fever is developed, people might get itchy rash, lesions on the face, hands and the sole of the feet. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually 6 to 13 days, but can range from 5 to 21 days, WHO says.

How can monkeypox be prevented, treated? 

The monkeypox outbreak can be controlled by infection prevention, read reports. "This is a containable situation," the WHO's emerging disease lead Maria Van Kerkhove said at a news conference on Monday.

Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. Antiviral drugs may also help.

Status in India

So far, India has reported zero cases of monkeypox but it has steeped up its surveillance at all international entry points for screening purposes. As per reports, the airport authorities in Mumbai are checking passengers coming from the endemic and non-endemic countries showing outbreaks.

Officers have been asked to collect a 21-day travel history of these passengers to identify suspected carriers. If monkeypox is detected, these patients will be isolated until better. For this, the BMC has has kept a 28-bed ward ready at the Kasturba Hospital.

Additionally, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also also keeping a close watch on the entire situation.

Should India be concerned about monkeypox

Experts across the global spectrum have stated that there is no need to panic with the rise of cases in other countries as WHO is working on the limitation of the spread.

However, the public is urged to keep an eye on personal hygiene, immunity, sleep and maintaining hydration, besides the already prescribed COVID-19 norms.

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