After the alarming pandemic of COVID-19, WHO has declared the new monkeypox virus a public health emergency. With increasing cases in India and around the world, the disease has created tension among health experts trying to curb the spread of the virus. Should we be worried about monkeypox as an international threat to the citizens?
How does monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox has been spreading rapidly since early May this year. The virus spreads from animals to humans, and the symptoms are majorly similar to the ones seen in smallpox patients but are less severe. With its origin in Africa, the virus has existed for around 50 years in the country.
However, it was the late 2000s when the other neighboring countries started reporting the cases. Since early May, this disease has spread worldwide. According to WHO, the disease has spread vastly due to men-to-men sex, as identified in the primary care of sexual health clinics.
How severe is the disease, and why is it an emergency?
For the first time, it was identified in monkeys. Contacting an infected person may cause mild fever, rashes, pus-filled skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, etc. People tend to recover in around three weeks, according to WHO.
Primarily, the disease is not easily transmitted, similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The fatality rate of the monkeypox virus in Africa is currently around 1%. It is less lethal in numerous non-endemic countries with robust healthcare infrastructure. Early this year, the virus spread further outside Africa. After years of negligence, the sexual healthcare clinics are on the frontline with a response to the virus, currently not prepared to curb the spread.
Myths and facts about monkeypox
With the rising cases of monkeypox globally, numerous myths about the disease have been spreading around.
Myth – Monkeypox spreads by coming into contact with monkeys.
Fact – It spreads majorly through men-to-men sex or intimate contact with an infected person.
Myth – Monkeypox has a limited reach to Africa.
Fact – The disease is spreading globally and has reached large areas of Asia and Europe.
Myth – Monkeypox is contagious.
Fact – It is not contagious as compared to smallpox or COVID-19.
Myth – Monkeypox cannot be treated.
Fact – Monkeypox is self-treated and requires around three weeks to disappear the effects of the disease.
Myth – Monkeypox has a high fatality ratio.
Fact – Considering the recent outbreak, no death has been reported (outside Africa). The disease has been less fatal than the previous COVID-19 virus.
Can monkeypox be treated?
According to health experts, the symptoms of monkeypox may disappear in around three weeks. They also advise the patients to consume fluids regularly and rely upon additional treatments to resolve the bacterial infection better.
Drug authorities in different parts of the world allow certain conventional drugs (to use against monkeypox) approved for the treatment of smallpox. Prevention has always been the primary cure, including avoiding infected sources and being careful with intimate contacts. It is advised to immediately see a doctor if you notice symptoms of the disease.