The outbreak of monkeypox, which is a viral disease, was confirmed in May 2022, once few cases were found in the United Kingdom. The first case was detected on 6th May 2022 and confirmed this case had travel links to Nigeria (where the disease is endemic).
From 18th May 2022 onwards, there was an increase in cases in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
As of 23rd July 2022, there have been a total of 17,186 confirmed cases. And WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and raised the status of the outbreak to a global health emergency.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is an infectious viral disease that can occur in humans and some animals. Time of exposure ranges from five to twenty-one days.
What are the Symptoms?
- Swollen Lymph nodes
- A Rash that forms Blisters and then crusts over
Duration of symptoms is typically two to four weeks, there might be mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
This might be severe especially in children or pregnant women or people with suppressed immune systems.
Brief History of Monkeypox?
- In 1958, Monkeypox was first identified as a distinct illness among laboratory monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark.
- Several species of animal are suspected to act as a natural reservoir of the virus.
- In 1970, first cases in humans were found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- There were few outbreaks of Monkeypox virus from 2013 onwards
- In 2013, the United States had 71 cases reported and there were no deaths.
- In 2017 to 2019, Nigeria had 230 cases reported and there were 6 deaths.
- In 2018, there were 4 cases reported in the United Kingdom.
- In 2019, there was one case reported in Singapore, because of this 22 people were quarantined to avoid virus outflow.
- In 2021, there were 3 cases reported in the United Kingdom and one case reported in the United States and all were treated and recovered.
- And the 2022 monkeypox outbreak is the first incidence of widespread community transmission outside of Africa, where cases are confirmed in at least 74 countries in all continents except Antarctica.
Diagnosis and Treatment?
- Doctors will be considering any other rash illnesses, such as chickenpox or measles or any bacterial skin infections or scabies or any medication-associated allergies.
- Diagnosis can be verified by testing for the virus.
- Preferred laboratory test is Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing from the samples from skin lesions.
- PCR blood tests are usually inconclusive because the virus remains in blood only a short time.
- In Europe and the United States, Tecovirimat is approved for the treatment of several poxviruses, including monkeypox.
- If required, Brincidofovir, a treatment for smallpox is done as the first line antiviral treatment, alongside supportive care (including antipyretic, fluid balance and oxygenation).
- Empirical antibiotic therapy or aciclovir may be used if secondary bacterial or varicella zoster infection is suspected, respectively.
- Vaccination used for smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection because they are closely related viruses and the vaccine protects animals from experimental lethal monkeypox challenges.
- Smallpox vaccine has been reported to reduce the risk of monkeypox among previously vaccinated persons in Africa.
- The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect against monkeypox.
- The CDC recommends that healthcare providers have a full set of personal protective equipment (PPE) before caring for an infected person.
On 14th July 2022, confirmed the first case of monkeypox. India was the tenth country to report a monkeypox case in Asia and first in South Asia.
As of 24th July 2022, there are 4 confirmed cases and 1 suspected case in India.
The Indian Union Health Ministry directed the National Center for Disease Control and the ICMR to keep a close watch and monitor the situation.
Also, the Indian Union Health Ministry directed airport and port health officers to be vigilant and have been instructed to isolate and send samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune of any sick passenger with a travel history to infected countries.