Suspected Monkeypox case in Kerala; Traveller from UAE under observation; Know about the virus, its transmission & prevention

Kerala Health Ministry informed that a person who came to Kerala from UAE three days back has shown symptoms of the monkeypox virus. The suspect is now under observation and the Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the possibility of the virus spreading. “No need to worry about the situation right now. The health department had sent the samples of the person to the Pune Virology Institute to confirm monkeypox. We hope to receive the result by today evening,” said Kerala health minister Veena George.

This is the first time in India that a person has been suspected of contracting the monkeypox virus, and it is from Kerala. So far, there are no reported cases of the monkeypox virus in India. As of July 11, the US had reported nearly 800 cases of the viral disease, whereas the global tally stands at over 8,200 cases across 57 countries.

What is Monkeypox Virus?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox. ‘ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Monkeypox is a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus. So far, the infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.

Monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus. Animal-to-person transmission occurs through broken skin, like from bites or scratches, or through direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, bodily fluids, etc.

There are doubts regarding whom gets affected mostly by this monkeypox virus. As per the report by WHO, the animals which are more likely to get affected by this virus are mice, rats, and rabbits. After the first case of monkeypox was reported in 1970, the next happened in 2003 June in the US along with Prairie dogs. 

Read Also: World Health Network declares Monkeypox a ‘pandemic’

Symptoms

Fever, headache, Swollen lymph nodes, Discomfort and exhaustion, backache, etc are the primary symptoms of this virus. As per the CDC report, when a person has been caught by the virus, then he would have to go through uncomfortable feelings and aching of it for atleast 2 to 3 weeks. 

According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases and has been higher among young children. There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet. The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms. Awareness is important for the prevention and control of the infection.

Prevention 

Some smallpox vaccines can prevent monkeypox, including the ACAM2000 and Jynneos vaccines. These vaccines can be used to prevent monkeypox because smallpox and monkeypox are caused by related viruses. However, there are some cases where we can be alert of avoiding monkeypox fever. 

  1. Avoid contact with infected animals (especially sick or dead animals).
  2. Avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus.
  3. Thoroughly cook all foods that contain animal meat or parts.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  5. Practice safe sex, including the use of condoms and dental dams.
  6. Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when around others.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

However, Kerala is on high alert to avoid the spread of the Monkeypox virus.