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monkeypox: Monkeypox outbreak: Here’s all you need to know

The World Health Organization has declared the global Monkeypox outbreak a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. This is one step below the pandemic. Teena looks at the virus in depth

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic infection caused by the Monkeypox virus. This means it can spread from animals to humans as well as from person to person.

How does it spread

Monkeypox can spread through close contact of any kind, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, mouth-to-skin and sexual contact, with the infected person. Environments can become contaminated too when an infectious person touches clothing, bedding, towels, objects, electronics and surfaces.

Can it affect children?

Children can catch Monkeypox if they have close contact with someone who has symptoms. Data from previously affected countries show that children are more prone to severe disease than adolescents and adults.

Are any vaccines available?

A vaccine was recently approved. Some countries are recommending vaccination for persons at risk. Vaccines for Smallpox are available which may be useful for Monkeypox. One of these has been approved for Monkeypox.

Who should get vaccinated?

Only those at risk (for example someone who has been in close contact with someone who has Monkeypox) should be considered for vaccination. Mass vaccination is not recommended at this time.

Are those vaccinated with the Smallpox vaccine safe?

While the smallpox vaccine was shown to be protective against Monkeypox in the past, current data on the effectiveness of newer Smallpox/Monkeypox vaccines are limited.

What are the clinical treatment options?

According to Sandeep Patil, chief intensivist, Fortis Hospital Kalyan, there is no specifi c treatment method for Monkeypox, although symptomatic treatment like antipyretic, hydration and skin care is followed as a protocol. Antivirals and vaccines developed for Smallpox may be used.

Source: WHO

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