Monkeypox Virus

Monkeypox: Are our healthcare systems ready to fight it?

We’re still not out of the COVID-19 pandemic’s grip, but many people are worried about monkeypox, a poxvirus that has begun to spread across several non-endemic nations.

When it comes to this infection, it has been around for a while; it was found in 1958 in a few monkey colonies, and the first human incidence was recorded in 1970. Historically, the bulk of illnesses have been localised to Central and Western African countries, but we’re now seeing instances in countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, like Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States, Portugal, and others.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transferred to people from animals) with symptoms comparable to smallpox patients in the past, but it is clinically less severe.

What are the signs and symptoms?

In the early stages of infection, it causes painful, pus-filled blisters and sores on the skin, as well as fever and enlarged lymph nodes. It might last anywhere between a few days and a month. And this can put someone in seclusion for weeks in order to prevent it from spreading, which can affect work and child care.

Because of the nature and location of the lesions, the virus is occasionally misdiagnosed with chickenpox, herpes, or syphilis.

It is most easily transmitted by touch with the virus’s sores. It can also spread through respiratory droplets, which are contracted by touching surfaces, clothing, and bedding that have been contaminated by an infected person’s secretions or the fluid or scab tissue from lesions.

When symptoms appear, the virus is considered contagious until scabs break off sores and fresh skin emerges.

First it was COVID-19, and now it's monkeypox. How dangerous is monkeypox to the population and the Indian health-care system? Is this another pandemic, given that we have previously had one?

Because monkeypox is not an airborne virus, it is more difficult to contract than COVID-19 and cannot be transmitted by casual skin contact or regular familial interaction. According to state health officials, the risk to the majority of people is still quite minimal.

Despite being a benign disease for the majority of the population, existing data reveals that children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals remain the most vulnerable category due to the risk of severe effects in this demographic. According to a detailed review undertaken by Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, Archana Thakur, and Nonita Dudeja, preparedness is critical.

How should the healthcare system get ready for monkeypox?

Every nation needs to be ready given the pattern of the spread. Priority should be given to outbreak readiness measures such the establishment of designated isolation facilities with dedicated beds, the acquisition of tools and reagents for laboratory testing, and the education of a group of healthcare professionals to serve on a rapid reaction team (RRT). The mainstays of the response continue to be early case detection, contact tracking, and, when and where practical, ring vaccination (of close contacts and family members).

Digital healthcare marketing might be quite important in this situation. When one or more MPXV cases are reported, extra effort should be put into educating the public about clinical symptoms and spreading prevention.

Guidelines for the identification and treatment of monkeypox sickness have already been made available by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The ministry generated some surveillance strategies to prevent this disease from becoming pandemic.

The suggested surveillance strategy’s objectives are to swiftly spot instances, clusters, and infection sources as soon as feasible in order to:

  • Isolate instances to stop the spread of disease
  • Give the best possible clinical treatment
  • Locate and handle contacts
  • Safeguarding frontline health personnel
  • Using the established transmission channels as the foundation, effective control and prevention methods

What guidelines for surveillance are required for monkepox?

  • Utilise Standard Case Definitions at Points of Entry and by all District Surveillance Units (DSUs) under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) (PoEs).
  • A monkeypox outbreak might start with just one case. Rapid Response Teams must begin an extensive inquiry through IDSP.
  • Immediately notify the DSU/State Surveillance Units (SSUs) and CSU (Central Surveillance Unit), who will then notify Dte. GHS MoHFW of any suspicious cases.
  • Send the samples to the specified laboratories in accordance with the instructions.

Summary

In the past 20 years, numerous viral and zoonotic illnesses have first appeared in India and then returned. There are estimations of increasing hazards of zoonotic diseases and cross-species virus transmission due to climate change. The treatments used to combat various disorders are often similar. For any such occurrence, it is crucial to have a strong primary healthcare system, effective disease surveillance systems, a skilled public health workforce, and a focus on the “One-health” approach, in which interventions are coordinated to safeguard the health of people, animals, and the ecosystem.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.