Monkeypox Outbreak Explained: Symptoms, Treatment & More: UPSC Current Affairs

Monkeypox Outbreak Explained: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

Today we will discuss the Monkeypox Outbreak in our daily dose of Current Affairs. Read the blog to level up your UPSC exam preparation and also find the topic’s relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus.

For Prelims: Viral Diseases, Monkeypox, WHO 

For Mains: Global Health Emergency, History of outbreak of Monkeypox

Also read our yesterday’s edition of Current Affairs on What’s causing severe Heatwaves and Wildfires in Europe? in case you missed it.

Context

The WHO has recently declared Monkeypox a Global Health Emergency. Various states in India also confirmed the cases of Monkeypox.

Probable Question

What are zoonotic diseases? Analyze the causes and consequences of an increasing number of zoonoses outbreaks in the recent past.

About Monkeypox

  • It is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, but less clinical severity.
  • The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
  • History of the outbreak:
    •  As per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
    • While the first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that was the animal-to-human transmission.
    • The virus has spread to over 63 countries.
  • Natural Host: Various animal species have been identified as susceptible to monkeypox virus. This includes rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, non-human primates and other species. Uncertainty remains on the natural history of monkeypox virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir(s) and how virus circulation is maintained in nature.
  • Transmission: The rapid increase in cases and geographical spread have primarily been due to human-to-human transmission, occurring primarily through large respiratory droplets.

Key Symptoms as per its Phases

The first invasion period: It is between 0-5 days, and is characterized by fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, exhaustion, and lymph node swelling.

The skin eruption stage: It can last between 2 – 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up first with clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.

The swelling of the lymph nodes is one of the characteristic features of monkeypox and is not observed in similar rash-causing diseases like measles and chickenpox.

The conjunctiva, cornea of the eye, and the genital area can also get affected, due to monkeypox.

The World Health Organization (WHO) underlines that it is important not to confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies.

Time Period

  • It is usually a self-limiting disease, hence its symptoms last from 2-4 weeks.
  • Generally it takes 7-14 days or 5 – 21 days (in some cases) of time to convert into symptoms from the infection.
  • Its communicability is “1-2 days before the rash until all the scabs fall off/get subsided”.

Treatment

  • As of now, no proven treatment for monkeypox is available.
  • Supportive treatment on the basis of symptoms and isolation is recommended.
  • According to the Ministry of Health guidelines;
    • A simple antiseptic can be used to clean skin rashes.
    • It can be covered with a light dressing in case of extensive lesions.
    • Oral ulcers should be managed with warm saline gargles.
Additional Information:

A zoonotic disease is a disease or infection that can be transmitted naturally from vertebrate animals to humans or from humans to vertebrate animals. More than 60% of human pathogens are zoonotic in origin. This includes a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, parasites, and other pathogens.

Source: The Indian Express , The Hindu

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