ZOONOTIC DISEASE

Recently, the US started surveillance on people travelling from Nigeria, who may have had contact with the individuals infected with Monkeypox.

Important points:

  • It is a viral zoonotic disease (transmission from animals to humans) and is identified as a pox-like disease among monkeys hence it is named Monkeypox. It is endemic to Nigeria.
  • It is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
  • The natural host of the virus remains undefined. But the disease has been reported in many animals.
  • Animals known to be sources of Monkeypox virus include monkeys and apes, a variety of rodents (including rats, mice, squirrels and prairie dogs) and rabbits.

Outbreaks:

  • It was first reported in 1958, in monkeys in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in humans in 1970, also in the DRC.
  • In 2017, Nigeria experienced the largest documented outbreak, 40 years after the last confirmed case.
  • Subsequently, the disease has been reported in many West and Central African countries.

Symptoms:

  • Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox. But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chicken pox infection.
  • In the early stage of the disease, Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged.

Transmission:

  • Primary infection is through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected animal. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is also a risk factor.
  • Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials.
  • Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital monkeypox).

Vulnerability:

  • It spreads rapidly and can cause one out of ten deaths if infected.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox infection. In the past, the anti-smallpox vaccine was shown to be 85% effective in preventing Monkeypox.
  • But the world was declared free of smallpox in 1980 so the vaccine isn’t widely available anymore.
  • Currently, there is no global system in place to manage the spread of Monkeypox, with each country struggling to contain any outbreak whenever it occurs.

Way Forward

  • Improved surveillance and response, raise awareness of the disease and avoid contact with wild animals, especially monkeys.
  • Any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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