After the COVID pandemic, monkeypox has come out as another unusual virus that is outbreaking and making the headlines worldwide. Over 80 confirmed cases have been reported from around 12 countries. These include several European countries, the US, Australia, and Canada. Various health experts and the WHO are expecting the cases to rise in non-endemic countries. India has not yet reported any case, but the authorities are keeping a strict watch over the situation.
As we all know, children and expecting mothers are highly sensitive to environmental factors; they must take proper precautions to stay away from possible infections. But are they susceptible to contracting monkeypox as well? To know more about this, we must understand what monkeypox is, how it spreads, and what are the treatment options.
“Pregnancy Is A Immunosuppressive State, But Proper Care and Hygiene Can Prevent Most Of The Infections”. – Dr. Sabiha Anjum
Monkeypox is a viral infection caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus. It is a highly contagious infection with symptoms similar to smallpox but clinically less severe. The hosts of this virus are primates and rodents, such as rats and squirrels, that transmit the virus to other animals and human beings. The virus typically occurs in the tropical regions of central and west Africa. Unlike smallpox, monkeypox is rare, less painful, and self-limiting.
The first case of monkeypox was reported in 1958 with two outbreaks of pox-like diseases in monkeys. Hence, the name. However, the first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the infestation drive of smallpox. Since then, this viral infection has been recorded in human beings in neighbourhood countries.
The monkeypox symptoms are similar but milder than smallpox. The infection usually takes 6 to 13 days to develop symptoms, but the incubation period can range from 5 to 21 days.
The symptoms begin with:
After 1-3 days of the appearance of fever, the individual begins to experience rashes and skin eruptions on the face, which then spread to other parts of the body. Apart from the face, the rashes can affect palms, feet soles, oral mucous membranes, cornea, and genitalia. It is a self-limiting infection with symptoms that can last from 2 to 4 weeks. The infection may cause severity in children because of an underlying immune deficiency.
Since this infection is rare, in severe cases, the fatality ratio of monkeypox is around 3-6%.
Monkeypox is highly contagious. There are several modes of transmission of this viral infection. An individual may contract the infection by coming in contact with an animal, person, or any object contaminated with the virus. The virus can enter the host through mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth), abrasions (broken skin), or the respiratory tract.
Animal-to-human transmission can happen through:
It can spread between humans through:
According to the CDC, currently, there is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox. However, antivirals and vaccines approved for smallpox can be used to treat the symptoms of monkeypox. As this infection can spread through touch, if you happen to contract monkeypox, isolation is necessary.
Since smallpox and monkeypox share similar symptoms, vaccination approved against smallpox, including Imvanex, has demonstrated to effectively provide protection against monkeypox as well.
As per the WHO, out of the new vaccines developed, one has been approved for the prevention of monkeypox. Another antiviral agent developed to treat smallpox is also licensed for treating monkeypox.
Monkeypox can be deadly; however, most cases recover in two to four weeks without any serious consequences. According to the WHO, children, pregnant women, and individuals with immune suppression are at a high risk of contracting this infection. Monkeypox during pregnancy may cause complications, stillbirth, or congenital monkeypox.
Parents should be aware of any noticeable change in their children. If any of the aforementioned symptoms occur, they should contact the doctor without delay.
There are several measures that can be undertaken to prevent the contraction of this infection.
Timely surveillance, precautionary measures and vaccine can help control the outbreak of monkeypox in masses. On an individual level, ensure proper hygiene and wear face masks to avoid any chance of contracting this viral infection.
This post was last modified on July 27, 2022 3:59 pm
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