Monkeypox vs Chickenpox: How different are these viral infections?

This primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact but that type of spread across Europe and other countries any other possible mode of spread has to look into.

Dr Vighnesh NaiduUpdated: Saturday, June 04, 2022, 09:52 PM IST
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Monkeypox is a zoonotic meaning that spread from animals to humans. It is caused by the Orthopox virus which is very much akin to smallpox but is usually milder | ANI

Just when the world was hoping to say good-by to COVID-19, another infection caused by the Monkeypox virus appears to be spreading around the world. Nearly 100 cases of Monkeypox have already been identified in over 12 countries.

Monkeypox is a zoonotic meaning that spread from animals to humans.

  • It is caused by the Orthopox virus which is very much akin to smallpox but is usually milder.

  • This primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact but that type of spread across Europe and other countries any other possible mode of spread has to look into

  • The incubation period is a bit more compared to small pox ranging from 5 to 21 days.

  • It initially starts with a cold, fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, and loss of appetite exhaustion and within 5 days skin rashes and lesions appear.

  • Rashes first appear over the face and later spread across the body.

Monkeypox symptoms are quite similar to chickenpox and smallpox symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between them.

The blister of the Monkey is usually larger than Smallpox. The lesions last from a week to 3 weeks, usually warranting isolation up until the very last of the skin lesions dry up, fall off and heal.

People with Smallpox tend to also develop swollen lymph glands over the neck and are tender to touch/examine. It is mostly a self-limiting disease lasting for anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks. It is considered a moderate risk to public health with an estimated fatality rate between 1 to 10 percent. It can be managed through isolation, good skin care, and antiviral medications.

Monkeypox can also be transmitted from person to person, but it is less common. When a person comes into contact with virus particles from another person, this is known as person-to-person spread (transmission). The virus can be spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Although lengthy face-to-face contact is required, you can then breathe in these tiny droplets from someone else (respiratory droplets) or get them in your eyes or nose. You can potentially contract it by touching an infected person's sores.

The smallpox vaccine can be administered to persons who have come into contact with suspected or clinically confirmed cases of Monkeypox.

In India there are currently no confirmed cases of Monkeypox, through the Government of India has issued guidelines to address the same, samples of suspected cases from across the country are being worked up at the National Institute of virology. In the present scenario, there is no need for alarm or stocking up of antivirals.

Antiviral vaccine through available need is not indiscriminately administered and infants are reserved for ones who have exposure to suspected or confirmed Monkeypox cases.

(Dr Vighnesh Naidu is Consultant Physician, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad)

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