GS Paper - 2 (Diseases)

More than 80 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in at least 12 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced. The WHO said another 50 suspected cases are being investigated and warned that more cases are likely to be reported. Infections have been confirmed in nine European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia, Monkeypox is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.

What it Monkeypox

  1. 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. Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
  2. Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
  3. Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
  4. Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited — the longest documented chain of transmission is six generations, meaning the last person to be infected in this chain was six links away from the original sick person.
  5. It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.
  6. Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects, the WHO says.
  7. There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but a smallpox jab offers 85 per cent protection since the two viruses are quite similar.