HEALTH ARTICLE SERIES: Around seventeen thousand people from 74 countries of the world, including four people in India, have caught monkey pox. The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency over monkey pox. The World Health Organization has declared a health emergency only twice before; only when Covid-19 and polio spread. A health emergency is declared only when three main conditions are met. First, a disease spreads rapidly. Two, they transcend national borders and spread. Third, there is a need for the nations of the world to stand united against this. All these three conditions are present in the case of monkey pox.
The head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), when four cases had been reported worldwide. The disease has been reported mostly in Central and West Africa. This disease, which was seen only in Africa for decades, has recently started to show its presence in other countries. The first three cases in the country are in Kerala. The fourth case is of a thirty-four-year-old Delhi native. It is a matter of great concern that a native of Delhi has this disease without even travel history.. That is, it is clear that the source of monkey pox is somewhere in our country itself.
Monkey pox is not a disease that sprung up one morning like Covid-19. Monkey pox is a viral disease. Its pathogens were first discovered in 1958 in some monkeys brought to labs for testing in African countries. That is why it is called monkey pox. The virus has nothing to do with monkeys, except that it was found in monkeys' saliva. Two years later, in 1960, the disease was first confirmed in a seven-year-old boy in the Congo. It is transmitted through close contact with certain animals. It can be spread from humans to animals and from animals to humans. It is a relief that monkey pox does not show the same symptoms of disfigurement of the body with blisters as seen in the early days.
However, there are other things that are troubling the health sector. Previously, the disease was seen only in people returning from Africa, but today almost thirty percent of patients have no travel connections to African countries. From this it is clear that venereal diseases showing such pre-existing symptoms are more likely to be monkey pox. It is the same thing that the health sector is now looking at more carefully.
The symptoms of monkey pox are similar to those of a common viral fever. Gradually, severe headaches, backaches, muscle aches and body blisters develop. After a couple of weeks, fluid-filled blisters begin to appear. Along with thick blisters all over the body, blisters can also be seen on the palms of the hands and feet. These blisters remain in the body until the disease subsides, which is about a month. Anyone who comes in contact at any time during these times is at risk of contracting the disease. Although the exact vaccine against it has not been discovered, it has been found that the vaccine against smallpox can be used effectively. But if the disease is caught, the exact treatment has not been found yet.
Monkey pox is transmitted through bodily fluids. It can be transmitted from animals to animals and from humans to humans. Monkey pox can be almost confirmed by PCR test. Its incubation period is six to 13 days. That means if it gets infected, it will take 6 days to 13 days to become infected. It may last up to four weeks if desired. Monkey pox is more common in children. In addition, the elderly and those with other medical conditions are more prone to monkey pox transmission. They are also more likely to become more serious.
Monkey Fever and Monkey Pox are two diseases that have been discussed side by side in the past month. These two diseases are often addressed as the same. But there are differences between the two. The most important difference lies in the methods of transmission between the two. Monkey fever is transmitted from monkeys to humans by certain species of fleas. But monkey pox is transmitted only through direct contact with monkeys, pigs and squirrels. While monkey fever shows mostly flu symptoms, monkey pox shows chicken pox symptoms.
The first thing to do is to keep your distance from infected people as it is spread through
bodily fluids. And do not touch the things and clothes they used. As with other viral diseases, follow proper social distancing. Monkey pox is transmitted from pregnant women to their children and through sexual contact. Moreover, the disease is likely to be transmitted to those who hunt and eat the animals. So those who eat animal flesh should be careful to eat it only after it is well cooked. There are reports of this disease spreading in some African countries.
Should I be afraid?: Monkey pox has been reported in around ten thousand people in the world so far. But in very few people it has progressed to a more dangerous condition or resulted in death. Older people and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get more serious.
There are some glaring lapses of caution that we have had with Covid-19. Those who show symptoms should be isolated and undergo proper tests. The tests are mainly done in two parts. First, a PCR test can be performed like a normal test for Covid-19 viruses. If it is positive, the disease can be confirmed only after doing special tests for monkey pox. Post-Covid, PCR machines have ensured presence in every nook and cranny of the country so testing can be completed more easily.
The same virus that has the potential to spread rapidly like Covid-19 is now standing in front of us in the form of monkey pox. The vigilance brought out against Covid-19 is also needed. Then we can do this back the way we came.