Is Monkeypox a Cause for Concern in India?

 - Sakshi Post

The dangerous COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. But now Monkeypox is a matter of concern. Over 100 cases of another viral infection called monkeypox have been confirmed globally. Earlier, Monkeypox cases have been confined to parts of central and West Africa. The cases have been in 12 countries that are not endemic to the virus. France, Germany, Belgium, and Australia have reported their first cases on Friday. 

WHO’s Europe director, Dr. Hans Kluge has described the outbreak as atypical and said that the transmission has been ongoing for some time. He also stated that most of the European cases are mild.

Monkeypox belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae which also includes the variola virus which causes smallpox, vaccinia virus is used in the smallpox vaccine, and cowpox virus. 

Every year, the World Health Organization estimates that thousands of people in around a dozen African nations contract monkeypox. The majority of the cases occur in Congo, which reports roughly 6,000 cases per year. In 2003, 47 people in six states in the United States had confirmed or suspected cases. They contracted the virus from pet prairie dogs that had been kept around Ghanaian small mammals.

Isolated cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States and the United Kingdom. Travel to Africa or contact with animals from places where the disease is more frequent has been linked to the instances.

According to the WHO, a total of 3,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in Nigeria. It further stated that the outbreaks are common in rural areas when people have close contact with infected rats and squirrels.

In India, the Union Health Ministry has directed the National Centre for Disease Control and the Indian Council of Medical Research to keep a close watch on the outbreak. The Union Health Ministry also told the government to start random screening of people arriving from the affected nations.

Dr Kabir Sardana, a professor of dermatology, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said that, "There is no need to panic. The infection potential of monkeypox is markedly less besides being a self-limiting infection. Since the smallpox vaccination works against it, it can be immunologically surmised that a certain population in India might be immune to monkeypox."

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