Monkeypox Panic or not?

Even as graphic images of rashes and boils have been going viral on the internet, doctors allay fears about the new virus
For representational purposes. (Express Illustrations)
For representational purposes. (Express Illustrations)

HYDERABAD: Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox, says World Health Organisation (WHO). But the rise in cases of Monkeypox in the European Union has sent citizens into a tizzy. The worry about another pandemic while coming to terms with Covid-19 is not ingenuine. Though there has been no case in our country yet, pictures of people suffering from Monkeypox are giving nightmares to most who have been following global the news lately. CE gets in touch with doctors from the city, who explain how Monkeypox spreads and share why there’s no need to panic about it.

Monkeypox belongs to the same pox viral family, more or less near equal to smallpox or cowpox. The symptoms are four common symptoms including, fever, headache and malaise, and some people develop a rash two to three days after they get infected. But sometimes, symptoms can be more severe. “The most worrying symptom of Monkeypox is the enlargement of lymph nodes/lymph glands, besides a rash similar to that we see in smallpox or chickenpox,” says Dr Jagadeesh Kumar V, consultant physician at KIMS Hospital, Secunderabad. “In medical terminology, we call them macule, papule, vesicle and pustule. The rash in an infected person develops in all these forms, and symptoms remain for about 2-4 weeks,” he says.

Doctors are treating Monkeypox the same way they treat symptoms of fever and headaches, like all viral fevers. For weakness, doctors work towards hydrating the infected persons with a good die. For rashes, they suggest anti-allergic medication as baseline treatment.

“The pictures look scary. But, unlike Covid-19, it’s not air-borne. However, it does spread when in contact with air around an infected perso. Monkeypox is transmitted in two ways, animal to human and human to human. If you come in close contact with anyone with Monkeypox, you might get infected. Since international travel has not been banned yet, it probably won’t be long before the country witnesses one or two cases,” Dr Jagadeesh says.

Should we be afraid?
Doctors say there is no reason to panic. “Vaccines that worked for smallpox (eradicated in 1980), are going to work for Monkeypox too, as around 86 per cent of the scientists around the globe assume so. This viral illness makes us panic because of the rash. At this point, I would say that it is not dangerous. It’s safe to say that the scariest part about Monkeypox are the graphic images that have been going viral on the internet,” Dr Jagadeesh adds.

On the other hand, Dr Haricharan, consultant and physician at Gleneagles Global Hospitals says that one should be cautious and take the necessary precautions for Monkeypox. “So far, there have been selective cases and but nothing to worry about, as the seriousness of the disease can only be known after a mutated form is formed. Basic Covid precautions should be enough to keep Monkeypox at bay. Especially, children, senior citizens and pregnant women seems to be more prone to the disease, so they have got to be extremely cautious and careful about this virus,” concludes Dr Haricharan.

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