And now, its monkeypox virus

"A tough anti-virus policy and a population closely adhering to adopting preventive measures can ensure a local outbreak is averted"

The spread of viruses and their variants has perturbed humanity for so long. Though modern science has prepared vaccines and antidotes to tackle pandemics caused by various viruses, the fight is not over yet. Every time, a new virus or an older one resurfaces, the vulnerability of human health is exposed.

Earlier, it was the Coronavirus that had left an everlasting impact on the economies of a large number of states, taking millions of lives all over the world.

This time, monkeypox virus is spreading its wings and started taking its toll in specific parts of the world. Though it is limited to a few states, but there is every possibility that the virus can spread to other countries, if they remained complacent and did not take any preemptive measures.

According to the media reports, a total of 111 cases of monkeypox have emerged in twelve countries. Major states include Germany, France, Canada, USA and UK, which are non-endemic.

The origin of the monkeypox is stated to be wild animals like rats and primates. Early symptoms of the disease, according to specialists, include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, back pain, extreme fatigue, and swollen and prominent lymph nodes, which appear after one to three days of the onset of fever. Then it converts into a skin rash.

Contact with the patient or his belongings also causes the spread of the virus among humans. According to the WHO, monkeypox is usually self-limiting but may be severe in some individuals, such as children, pregnant women or persons with immune suppression due to other health conditions.

Although to date no case of monkeypox virus has been identified in our country, the health authorities concerned have been put on high alert regarding the finding of any case and isolation of the patient. The virus mainly spreads when passengers with symptoms arrive in the country. So, a thorough checking and proper health screening of every traveller can help curtail the spread of the virus.

Extra vigilance is required for passengers coming from those states where the prevalence rate of the virus is high. As it is an infectious disease that can be transmitted by contact with body fluids, the identification of a suspected case requires immediate reporting to the health authorities, who must proceed with the search for cases, their isolation, contact tracing, and health care.

Keeping in view the severity of Coronavirus, the government has reconstituted the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) for monkeypox after which screening arrangements have also been made at airports to spot suspected cases. As most cases are being reported from the west, the government needs to take all necessary measures to protect victims from this disease. There is a need to put all health facilities on alert to tackle the situation.

The government needs to arrange vaccines and other necessary medicines and diagnosis facilities at public health facilities for early detection and treatment of the disease. The elimination of the virus demands both long term and short term plans. Currently, there is no licenced vaccine and antiviral drug to beat the perils associated with the disease. Various research institutes and pharmaceutical companies should be sponsored and patronised for the swift invention of an effective vaccine and antiviral drug. There is a need to take all necessary measures to save people from the disease. The focus should be on launching a countrywide awareness campaign to educate the masses about the symptoms of the disease and inform them about curative measures.

There is also a need to improve the level of coordination among the concerned authorities. Quick measures are needed at the provincial and federal levels to prevent epidemics from spreading in the country. Joint efforts should be made to save people from the disease. Timely detection of the virus and isolation of the affected individuals are very much necessary. Monkeypox is posing a threat like Coronavirus.

Until vaccines that offer protection are available, the best strategy to slow its spread is vaccination. A tough anti-virus policy and a population closely adhering to adopting preventive measures can ensure avert local outbreaks. Much is still not known about monkeypox and authorities need to follow the science and be prepared.

The recurring attacks by viruses are becoming a new challenge for the world. Mankind is at the risk of viruses that have and can exterminate large populations within days and months. So, modern man has to be alert to such infectious diseases. Here comes the equal distribution of health facilities. The countries with good resources boast of state-of-the-art healthcare systems but they even fail when a virus originates from a country with scanty resources. World authorities need to end this disparity and need to work on lines so that the population living in poor states could also have access to proper healthcare and could enjoy immunity from curable infectious diseases.

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