Mon, 25 Jul 2022 12:32 PM IST
The continuous spike in monkeypox cases has forced the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the outbreak a "global health emergency". The infection, caused by a zoonotic virus, has spread to 70 countries, affecting more than 16,000 people and claiming five lives.
"Monkeypox has been spreading rapidly and to many countries that have not seen it before, which is a matter of great concern. However, with cases concentrated among men who have s*x with men, it is possible to curtail further spread of the disease with focused efforts among the at-risk population," the WHO said.
In India, four cases - three in Kerala and one in Delhi - have been reported till now, forcing the government to issue guidelines to check the spread of monkeypox. On Sunday, the Centre also held a high-level meeting to review the situation in the country.
The meeting was chaired by the Directorate General of Health Sciences (DGHS) and attended by officials from the Health ministry, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and ICMR among others, reported news agency PTI.
The rise in monkeypox cases comes at a time when the whole world is reeling from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating panic among the masses. However, monkeypox is very different then COVID-19 and thus, there are fewer chances of it converting into a pandemic.
MONKEYPOX VS COVID-19: HOW THE TWO INFECTIONS ARE DIFFERENT?
Monkeypox and COVID-19 are completely different from each other. While monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a zoonotic virus in the genus Orthopoxvirus, COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
"If COVID is like a snake bite, Monkeypox is like bed bugs. Important and concerning, but not the same," Dr. Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland, was quoted as saying by India Today.
MONKEYPOX VS COVID-19: HOW SYMPTOMS OF THE TWO INFECTIONS ARE DIFFERENT?
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes. It said the symptoms "typically last two to three weeks and usually go away on their own or with supportive care, such as medication for pain or fever".
"The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body. The number of lesions can range from one to several thousand. Lesions begin flat, then fill with liquid before they crust over, dry up and fall off, with a fresh layer of skin forming underneath," the WHO said.
On its website, the WHO said the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, tiredness, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms, meanwhile, include sore throat, headache, aches and pains, diarrhea, a rash on the skin, discolouration of fingers or toes, and red or irritated eyes.
MONKEYPOX VS COVID-19: WHAT ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSMISSION?
COVID-19 spreads from one person to another by contaminated droplets and small airborne particles that contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The risk of transmission rises when people are in close proximity.
Talking about monkeypox, it mainly spreads through skin-to-skin contact, with most cases caused by s*xual transmission.
MONKEYPOX VS COVID-19: WHICH IS MORE DANGEROUS?
According to worldometers.info.com, COVID-19 has an Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 1.4 per cent. Similarly, severe monkeypox can also lead to death. According to the WHO, "in the past, between 1 per cent to 10 per cent of people with monkeypox have died".
MONKEYPOX VS COVID-19: WHAT ABOUT TREATMENT?
It took nearly one year for the world to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. However, researchers and scientists have still not been able to develop a vaccine for monkeypox, but people infected with it are generally treated with smallpox vaccines.