The World Health Organization has activated its highest alert level for the growing monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern.
The rare designation means the WHO now views the outbreak as a significant enough threat to global health that a coordinated international response is needed to prevent the virus from spreading further and potentially escalating into a pandemic.
Although the declaration does not impose requirements on national governments, it serves as an urgent call for action. The WHO can only issue guidance and recommendations to its member states, not mandates. Member states are required to report events that pose a threat to global health.
Before a global health emergency is declared, the WHO’s emergency committee meets to weigh the evidence and make a recommendation to the director general. The committee was unable to reach a consensus on whether monkeypox constitutes an emergency. Tedros, as the WHO’s chief, made the decision to issue the highest alert based on the rapid spread of the outbreak around the world.
How can people contract Monkeypox, since the recent case detected had no travel history?
It can be spread in different ways. Although human-to-human transmission was rare in the past, respiratory droplets are the main carriers of the virus. So you stand a risk of contamination if the infected is within your breathable range and with whom you have a face-to-face interaction. It can be transmitted by direct contact with body fluids, lesion material, and also by contact with contaminated clothing or linen of an infected person. Intimate sexual relationships can accelerate transmission. Then there is animal-to-human transmission through bites or scratches of infected animals like rodents(rats) and monkeys. Pregnant women can also transmit the virus to their fetuses.
What is the disease management protocol once the person has contracted Monkeypox? Should it be managed like chicken pox?
Isolate the person with suspected Monkeypox, avoid close contact with the suspected patient, avoid contact with his/her dresses and belongings. The confusion happens because infected patients present non-specific flu-like illness, including fever, headache and backache. It is not until the first lesions develop on the tongue and in the mouth before spreading to the skin that you sense the nature of the disease.
The lesions, which fill with pus, remain for five to seven days before beginning to crust. They typically scab over by the end of the second week and remain for about another week before starting to fall off. An infected person is contagious from the start of the flu-like symptoms until all scabs have fallen off. In many cases, lesions are only seen in the genital area or around the anus.
If you have new or unexplained rashes, sores, or other symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.
How can I differentiate Monkeypox from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
Monkeypox is an acute illness presenting with rash (mostly maculopapular, vesiculopustular), fever, headache, body ache, swollen glands, sore throat, and cough. Rashes mostly start from the face and spread to arms, legs, palms, and soles. The above conglomeration of symptoms and distribution of rash is not typical of STDs. The confusion arises when the rash involves the genitalia. Prediction for palms and soles of rash is characteristic of Monkeypox.
How can I deal with joint-related pain during Monkeypox?
Aches and pain are typical of most viral illnesses including monkeypox and should be managed with symptomatic treatment like Paracetamol.
What should my medicine protocol be once my case is confirmed?
Except for using Paracetamol to control your fever, do not use any drug without seeking medical advice, please do not pop antibiotics or attempt any over-the-counter drugs.
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