Over 16000 monkeypox cases have been recorded in the world so far: How severe is the outbreak?
Two and a half years passed when the world was infected with the Covid-19 infection, and the world is still struggling with the new variants of the disease. The small magnitude of outbreaks has been reported in different parts of the world. This signifies that most countries have started to live with the virus.
When the world is still fighting the battles against the detrimental coronavirus, a new struggle emerges in front of the world- monkeypox.
The World Health Organisation has opined in an interview that monkeypox can be declared a global emergency. The WHO label of public health emergency may sound like an alarming situation for the world. And. to overcome the situation in the face of the world, a coordinated response is necessary, and this would affect the global funding for the growing vaccines and treatments. In addition, the WHO is issuing recommendations that would help countries to take action to prevent the transmission of the disease and to protect those patients who are susceptible to the virus.
WHO has stated that there was an additional risk of the international spread of the virus. They have reported five deaths to have taken place because of the outbreak.
How severe is the outbreak of monkeypox disease?
In an interview, WHO emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan stated that it is a call to action. This is not the first time cases of monkeypox have been reported in the world. Previously, the DG brought the committee together, and it was an alert to the world showing that the WHO has been highly active on the case since day 1. The spread of the disease is not the initiation of the response.
Instead, it is the intensification of the WHO to the world that the people must act now and work together to prevent the further transmission of the disease. The WHO has constantly been working on advancements in human science and human health, but there are times when the efforts need to be accelerated. And, it will solely depend on the collective response of the people to bring the disease under control.
WHO has opened up about the total number of cases in the country raising concern. About 16000 topics have been reported in 75 countries all over the world. There are a total of five deaths that could be linked to the viral infectious disease.
In the last two decades, the WHO declared two health emergencies worldwide. One was the covid-19 pandemic, and the other for the eradication of polio.
The cases of monkeypox have been investigated in the European nations, including the United Kingdoms, as well as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In the United Kingdom, there have been over 2000 cases of infection. The investigation said that the effect of the disease was found to be relatively mild, and the risk to the general public was found to be reasonably low.
The British government has made arrangements to overcome the disease. The British government has purchased stocks of smallpox vaccines to guard against monkeypox. This has been followed by the production of additional doses making up the total sum of vaccines that have been brought to the country’s rise to a significant 40000 quantities.
Meanwhile, India’s capital New Delhi has reported the first case of monkeypox in a 31-year-old patient with no international travel history. This adds to the data of three monkeypox cases taking the count to four. The other three cases have been reported in the Southern Indian state of Kerala.
Monkeypox is caused by the virus, which belongs to the same family as smallpox. Although the infection is less severe as compared to smallpox and the chances of infection are also reasonably low. The two main strains of the virus – The West African and the Central African are the two strains that are known to exist. Reports show that Central Africa is milder as compared to the West African strain and is circulating rapidly in other regions, including Europe and North America.
The symptoms include back pain, fever, headaches, swelling, aching muscles, and swollen lymph nodes. Once the fever breaks, rashes may also develop on the face and the genitals. The rashes can cover a large area of the body, including the palms of hands and soles of feet. They can be itchy and painful and go through different stages before forming a scab. The infection lasts for a duration of 14 to 21 days.
Since monkeypox is an infectious viral disease, it can be transmitted from an infected to a healthy person upon close contact with the former. The virus can even enter the body through broken skin, respiratory tract or eyes, nose, or mouth. Previously, it has been reported that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease still can even pass through close contact with infected animals such as monkeys, squirrels, rats, or virus-contaminated articles such as bedsheets, and pieces of clothing, etc.
Experts say that declaring the outbreak of monkeypox as a global health emergency is a significant act. It is the cry for the countries to take the spread of the disease very seriously and not to follow a careless approach.
Now the questions arise what is the infection all about and how concerned should we be regarding the spread of the disease.
Professor Panet, working for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has shared his opinions regarding the disease. He asked the people not to panic because they had studied the virus for many years and had developed an efficient vaccine against smallpox. The smallpox virus circulated in Europe in the middle ages and killed millions of people. Luckily, monkeypox is not as pathogenic as the smallpox virus despite belonging to the same family.
Monkeypox is the relatively milder version of smallpox. Nonetheless, the virus can undergo a human-to-human or animal-to-human mode of transmission. Most of the cases reported so far are sexually transmitted, and specifically in a homosexual relationship. It has been reported that the virus does not undergo evolution to share by other means, although we are aware that viruses can undergo rapid mutation. As a result, we should be careful and adopt to conduct sexual relationships in a prudent way like the practices we follow to fight against the AIDS virus.
Research should be made to check if the virus can be evolved in other forms. Then, the introduction of drugs and vaccines can be utilized for the eradication of the disease.
However, the spread of the disease has not been strictly narrowed down to sexual transmission, as the disease can be spread by other measures as well.
Even though the virus causes mild symptoms and has a reasonably low risk, the virus has been reported in 16000 patients worldwide. Then why are the scientists and health authorities not able to bring a halt to the spread of the disease.
To this Professor Panet has replied that Covid-19 is more severe than the monkeypox virus. The latter is not easily transmitted and only passed due to close physical contact. So proper precautions must be taken to prevent the transmission of the disease.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma