Expert- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: After Covid-19, monkey pox fear is now on the rise. While this is a self-limiting illness in most people, symptoms can last for two to four weeks. dr. Giridhar R Babu, professor, head – Lifecourse Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, explains to The New Sunday Express that severe cases are in a small proportion and the death rate is about 3-6 percent. He also says the government is working on preparing a test kit for detection.

How serious is monkey pox?
There may be severe cases in a small proportion, and the mortality rate is around 3-6%. The degree of severity depends on the degree of exposure to the virus and the person’s health status. People with immunocompromised diseases are likely to be at higher risk of infection and may develop complications. Children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and individuals with one or more complications may also be at risk.

Do you feel that cases are underreported because people think they are chickenpox?
Although there are rashes in chickenpox and measles, the pattern of onset and spread is distinct and different for these three diseases. A rash on any part of your body (even if it’s just 1 or 2 spots) may be the only symptom. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and back pain. Another distinguishing feature is swollen lymph nodes, much earlier during the prodromal phase.

Symptoms usually appear 5-21 days after exposure. People should be alert and report symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, mouth sores, rash, and eye irritation or redness. There may be small lesions at first; in the mouth or on the skin. A rash begins as a macula, papule, or vesicle, then progresses to a pustule and forms a crust. Lesions are often seen in one stage of development and are very slow. The rash will be denser on the face, palms, and soles.

How prepared is the government with monkey pox test kits?
Currently, there is no test kit validated by ICMR or approved by the drug inspector in India. It takes about a week to complete validation for test kits. Therefore, it is not advisable to rely on tests advertised by diagnostic centers. Given the expertise and experience of how India has managed to scale testing, I am confident that we can efficiently manage validation, permissions and scale.

What should the government do to prevent monkeypox from entering the country on a large scale?
The central and state governments must take various measures. These include the issuing of monkey pox management guidelines by the Department of Health and Family Welfare. The Center has invited vaccine makers to develop a monkeypox vaccine. It has also continued the validation process for manufacturers to develop diagnostic kits. Worryingly, for overburdened health systems, a series of pandemic attacks could lead to systemic destruction.

Breaking the chain at a very early stage can reduce many infections and is more cost and time efficient than starting the job once it spreads to many people. At this very early stage, health systems and governments have to take strict measures regarding mobility, isolation and quarantine, which could not be followed quickly in the early stages of Covid. This prevents the virus from spreading to the masses. On a broader level, countries need to be constantly on the lookout for signs associated with the disease. Proactive measures regarding prevention, detection and reporting are required.

What precautions should people take to prevent infection?
Individuals with monkey pox who are accidentally implanted in the eyes, mouth or other anatomical areas may pose a special hazard. Information and awareness surrounding the outbreaks should be used constructively to engage and empower high-risk communities and reduce stigma and discrimination. The challenge is to eliminate disinformation and disinformation that requires the public, social media companies and civil society organizations to collaborate and collaborate with government.

There were reports that monkeypox virus is a variant or derivative of the smallpox virus. What are the vaccines for it?
Among the vaccines, JYNNEOS is a live vaccine produced from the Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic strain, an attenuated, non-replicating orthopox virus. This is also known as IMVAMUNE, IMVANEX, MVA. This is indicated for the prevention of monkeypox disease in individuals 18 years of age and older who are at higher risk of smallpox or monkeypox infection. The other vaccine is ACAM2000, a live vaccinia virus vaccine approved by the FDA in August 2007 for active immunization against smallpox. According to the CDC’s emergency clearance in the US, this is helpful against monkeypox during an outbreak. Another agent, tecovirimat, is also available for treatment; an antiviral agent indicated for smallpox disease has been shown to be useful in adults and pediatric patients weighing at least 3 kg. Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a vaccination for selected individuals at risk of occupational exposure to monkeypox, including personnel in research or clinical laboratories and healthcare team members at risk of occupational exposure to orthopoxviruses.

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