The monkeypox scare, which is spreading globally, has hit India. Kerala reported the country’s first monkeypox case, after a 35-year-old man returned from UAE and tested positive for the virus. According to agency reports, the case was confirmed through sample testing of the symptomatic person at the National Institute of Virology, Pune. This one case has put health authorities in the country on high alert to facilitate public health measures to ensure preparedness against the disease.
The Union Health Ministry deployed a multi-disciplinary Central team to support the Kerala government in probing the outbreak, and bring into action the required preventive measures.
In June 2022, the World Health Organization had announced that the presence of monkeypox was identified in over 40 countries. The spread is growing.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox virus is known to be in remote parts of Central and West Africa. However, it started spreading to parts of Europe, US and even Australia after people travelled toand fro from the infected areas.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes monkeypox as a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is a part of the same virus family as smallpox.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Some of the known monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue and even a rash.
As per the CDC, the rash can appear on the face, inside the mouth, as well as on other body parts such as hands, feet, chest, genitals or even the anus.
Illness may last between 2-4 weeks.
Transmission of monkeypox
The Indian government’s guidelines on management of monkeypox disease reveals that transmission of this disease happens either human-to-human or animal-to-human.
In the case of transmission from one human to another, it occurs mostly through large respiratory droplets generally requiring a prolonged close contact. Other reasons may include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material,
such as through contaminated clothing or linens of an infected person.
Whereas, animal-to-human transmission may be a result of a bite or scratch of infected animals such as rats, squirrels or monkeys and apes.
The Indian government is currently focussing on increasing risk communication and spreading information on preventive measures. This, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is the main prevention strategy for monkeypox.
You must avoid contact with any materials such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick person.
Infected patients must be isolated from others.
3. Hand hygiene
Covid-19 has instilled the importance of practicing good hand hygiene among people. Washing hands properly after contact with infected animals or humans is imperative.
4. Protective gear
If you are a caregiver for an infected person, ensure using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).