Monkeypox: Another Pandemic or Just a Mild Viral Infection?

Symptoms of Monkeypox in Mangalore

The world is still struggling to come to terms with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and bracing itself for future waves. However, the news of the unprecedented outbreak of a rare disease called monkeypox has brought back echoes of late 2019 and early 2020. Generally confined to western and central Africa, the disease has now started to penetrate the U.S. and Europe. 

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infected man has recently travelled to Canada and he is now being treated in a hospital in India. Although the country is yet to report its first confirmed case of monkeypox, the Health Ministry has acted promptly and issued guidelines for ensuring full preparedness across the country. 

While news outlets have started issuing red alerts and making comparisons with the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts believe that the world is fully prepared to tackle the disease and prevent the outbreak of another pandemic. Unlike the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was an unknown agent in early 2020, we have enough information on the virus causing monkeypox which is basically a distant relative of the smallpox virus that we’ve known and studied since the 1950s. 

What is Monkeypox?

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a rare, generally mild infection caused by the transmission of the virus from animals to humans. The disease was first discovered in monkeys (kept for research) in 1958. The disease is generally accompanied by symptoms similar to the ones seen in smallpox patients, although they are clinically less severe. Visit Manipal Hospitals if you are having symptoms of Monkeypox.

Some of the most common symptoms of monkeypox are:

  • Fever

  • Body pain

  • Exhaustion & Fatigue

  • Lesions & Swollen Lymph Node

A person infected with monkeypox will generally start to see the first symptoms, which usually include a headache, fever, backache, muscle aches, shivering, exhaustion and swollen glands, in around 5 to 21 days. This is followed by the appearance of a rash, which is often confused with chickenpox owing to its build-up from raised spots to small scabs filled with fluid. These scabs generally fall off after the symptoms go away within 2-4 weeks. 

How Does it Spread?

Monkeypox spreads by droplet exposure through large droplets and by contact with contaminated materials or infected skin lesions, as per the WHO. However, the virus cannot spread unless there is prolonged face-to-face contact between people. Besides, the infection can also spread by contact with towels, bedding or clothing used by an infected person. It isn’t widely regarded as a sexually transmitted infection but it can be passed on during sexual intercourse through skin-to-skin contact, says the UK Health Security Agency.

In parts of Central and West Africa, some cases of monkeypox have been found to occur due to contact with infected wild animals. It can also spread by consuming the undercooked meat of an infected animal. 

Can Monkeypox Cause Death?

While the WHO has reported that the disease kills one out of every 10 infected persons, it is yet to cause a single death even though it has affected 658 people across the globe. Moreover, surveys reveal that most patients usually recover within a few weeks.

Is There Any Cure for Monkeypox?

Currently, there is no cure for monkeypox. Patients will have to isolate themselves or stay in a hospital so that the infection doesn’t spread and the symptoms can be treated. Consult with our Internal Medicine specialist in Mangalore to know more.

How Monkey Pox Affects Children

Monkey Pox in Children is the Talk of the hour, According to WHO and CDC, the Monkey Pox virus is less contagious than the Covid - 19 Virus, but looking at it through a toddler’s lens still creates a stressful environment for the Parents. Even for children, the initial symptoms include rashes that become fluid-filled blisters in 2-3 days that finally become pus-filled white/yellow sores. Parents should take their child to a Paediatrician who will perform a lab test by taking a skin swab and checking for the severity of the disease. In the United States, CDC has recommended tecovirimat or TPOXX vaccine for children under the age of eight. The vaccine is also available in India and could be given to children, keeping them on the safer side. Visit Manipal Hospitals to know more about Monkey Pox treatment in Mangalore.

Dr. Basavaprabhu Achappa

Consultant - Internal Medicine

Manipal Hospitals, Mangalore

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