In May 2022, a disease named, ‘Monkeypox’ came in news. This disease was spreading fast in various countries. ‘Monkeypox’ is a virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.  It is a kind of zoonotic virus that can spread from animal to human and from human to human through close contact or direct contact. Monkeypox should not be considered similar to chicken pox, smallpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and other related diseases. In 1958 for the first time, Monkeypox was detected. At that time, Africa was suffering from disease called polio. So, to cure polio vaccines needed to be made. For the testing of vaccines, a group of monkeys was required but during the testing period, scientists identified a different type of virus and named it Monkeypox. It was named Monkeypox because it was detected in the colonies of monkeys where the monkeys were kept for research. At that time two pox-like diseases outbreak and hence it was called ‘Monkeypox’. It was seen for the first time in a human a nine-month-old baby in Zaire now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the year 1970. From then, it was transmitted to various central and west African countries. Monkeypox is a type of disease that can become a pandemic if not taken properly care of. Monkeypox was always seen in the regions of Africa but for the first time in 2003, it was seen in the USA and after that, it was seen in many countries. In May 2022, monkeypox once again was seen in many countries.
Monkeypox is spread through direct contact or at some distance. It is said that it can be spread through sexual transmission also. It has been by WHO that sex done by a man with other men are more likely to get infected from monkeypox. Monkeypox is considered mild compared to smallpox. The symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, backache, and exhaustion. The period for this disease is said to be seven to fourteen days. It can be prevented by keeping some distance from the animals who are infected by this disease. Not only for animals but distance is also necessary for humans too who are infected by this disease or are taking care of a person infected from this disease. Keeping ourselves hygienic is necessary. By washing hands regularly etc. so that germs cannot enter our bodies. It is said that people who are showing the symptoms of Monkeypox should isolate themselves and watch for any other symptoms like blurry eye vision etc. so that other people would not get affected by this disease. Brincidofovir and Tecovirimat were two antiviral medicines used to treat smallpox. Tecovirimat is approved by European Union and the US for the treatment of monkeypox. Although, it is not approved by the UK. At the time of trial, Brincidofovir showed less positive results. Patients first showed improvement in their health but this was not long-lasting and they developed side effects affecting their liver. Tecovirimat showed a positive result and from this, the health of patients was improving. So. Tecovirimat was considered useful in the treatment of monkeypox. Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) has said that monkeypox is not going to be a pandemic this time. As the cases found in many countries are not that many that it can lead to a pandemic like the corona virus ( outbreak in 2020). Higher cases are in the USA, Africa, England, etc., and it is not showing a problem in most of the countries so it is not considered a a pandemic. WHO says that this disease is seen to be found in people below the age of 45 years who are not vaccinated for smallpox. Right now it is said that Monkeypox is less severe than smallpox but experts doubt if there is not a good cure for monkeypox then it might be possible that no monkeypox will become more severe than smallpox.
So, Monkeypox might also become a severe disease if not taken proper care of. Every person should take care of themselves and follow the precautions and if they have any symptoms then they should isolate themselves for the protection of others.
Author’s Name: Madhu Kaveri (Indore Institute of Law)