Monkeypox virus: Reports said the infected person has a travel history to Canada, which has reported 13 cases of monkeypox in its second-largest city, Montreal. Last year, a resident of Maryland in the US contracted the virus after returning from Nigeria.
The UK has recorded nine cases of the disease since the first case was reported on May 6 this year. The first infected person found he had a travel history to Nigeria. Other countries like Portugal and Spain have also reported cases of this disease. Now India reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox in Kerala in a 35-year-old man who is returning from the Middle East and showed symptoms on him.
In view of the above, the Union Health Ministry asked the State Governments to identify the hospitals, and skilled human resources and arrange other necessary logistics for the management of Monkeypox cases in any State, if required.
According to the WHO factsheet, monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in patients with smallpox, but clinically less severe.
The United States Centers for Disease Control states that the monkeypox virus belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus — which includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in smallpox vaccines) and cowpox virus — in the family Poxviridae.
The types of the disease occur mainly in tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa and are also sometimes exported to other adjacent regions.
Monkeypox Virus origin
The disease was first discovered in 1958 when two smallpox-like disease outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, resulting in the name ‘monkeypox’. The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at a time when it was called Zaire and there was an intense effort to eradicate smallpox in the region.
Since then, monkeypox in humans has been reported in other Central and West African countries, such as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Cte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
Most infections are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but cases have also been reported in Singapore, Israel, the US and the UK.
Monkeypox virus spread/ Transmission
Transmission of the monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or material contaminated with the virus. This disease is mostly spreads from wild animals such as rodents and primates to people and also spread through human-to-human transmission.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin (even if it is not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The natural reservoir host (main disease carrier) of monkeypox remains unknown, but African rodents and non-human primates (such as monkeys) are suspected to be the major transmitters and can infect people.
Monkeypox Treatment and prevention
Infection occurs through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal. Animal-to-human transmission can occur by bite or scratch, ingesting inadequately cooked bushmeat and other animal products from infected animals is also a potential risk factor.
Human-to-human transmission, however, is relatively limited but can be spread through direct or indirect contact with body fluids or wound material, such as contaminated bedding. It can also occur from respiratory secretions, skin sores from an infected person, or close contact with recently contaminated objects.
Monkeypox virus symptoms
- Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, and muscle aches. According to the WHO, swelling of the lymph nodes is a distinguishing feature of monkeypox, unlike other chickenpox.
- The disease is a self-limited one with symptoms lasting two to four weeks, with severe cases in children more likely. Complications of the disease may include bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea.
- The spread period of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days, but it can also be taken as long as five to 21 days.
- The mortality rate of this disease in the general population is 0-11 per cent.
Monkeypox Cases in India
- Experts interviewed said that most children and adults with healthy immune systems are likely to survive serious illnesses.
- But there are two high-risk groups. It includes infants under six months of age group.
- Many studies show that many older adults, the group most likely to succumb to the monkeypox disease, are at least they protected from the decades-old smallpox vaccination.
- Vaccinated older adults can become infected, but they are likely to survive with only mild symptoms.
- Many measures can be taken to prevent its infection. It is most important to avoid contact with animals that may carry the virus—including animals that are sick or found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs.
- Those people who are Infected should be isolated from other people who may be at risk of infection.
- People should practice good hand hygiene after coming into contact with infected animals or humans.
- Precautions like, washing your hands with soap and water before eating anything, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- People should avoid coming into contact with any material, especially bedding, that may have been in contact with a sick animal.
- When caring for patients, caregivers should use personal protective equipment.