Monkeypox scare in India: BMC guidelines for isolation and management of suspected cases after global outbreak

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Strong points

  • Monkeypox as a rare viral infection that most people recover from within weeks
  • So far, no cases of Monkeypox have been reported in India

Monkeypox alert in India: So far, no confirmed cases of Monkeypox have been reported in India. However, keeping the safety of Indians in mind, the Public Health Department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued guidelines for the isolation and management of suspected monkeypox cases. For the uninitiated, monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is usually mild and most people recover from it within weeks, according to the UK’s National Health Service. However, the disease can prove deadly, with the strain behind the current outbreak killing one in every 100 people infected.

People usually catch the infection in tropical regions of West and Central Africa and can be transmitted through very close contact with an infected person. The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the general public would be very low. The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, can be passed from person to person through close physical contact – as well as sexual intercourse, Daily Mail reported. There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but a smallpox vaccine offers 85% protection since the two viruses are quite similar, the BBC reported.

Related | What is Monkeypox? Know how it spreads, symptoms and treatment

Here are some key points about Monkeypox that you need to know

  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is sometimes exported to other regions.
  • Monkeypox usually presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and can lead to a range of medical complications.
  • Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease with symptoms lasting 2-4 weeks. Serious cases can occur. The fatality rate can vary from 1 to 10%
  • Monkeypox can be transmitted from animal to human as well as human to human. The virus enters the body through damaged skin (even if it is not visible), the respiratory tract or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth).
  • Transmission from animals to humans can occur through bites or scratches, preparation of bushmeat (bushmeat is meat from wildlife), direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, for example through contaminated bedding.
  • Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets that typically require prolonged close contact.
  • It can also be transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids or lesion material, and through indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens from an infected person.
  • The clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxviral infection that was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe disease.
  • The incubation period is usually 7 to 14 days, but can range from 5 to 21 days and the person is usually not contagious during this time.
  • An infected person can spread the disease 1-2 days before the rash appears and remain contagious until all the scabs have fallen off.

Cases of monkeypox around the world

Countries not endemic for monkeypox are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

Countries endemic for monkeypox are Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

Cases of monkeypox in India

To date (23 May 2022), no suspected or confirmed cases of Monkeypox have been reported in Mumbai.

BMC guidelines for the isolation and management of suspected cases of monkeypox

1. Airport authorities screen passengers arriving from endemic and non-endemic countries with outbreaks.
2. For isolation of suspected cases, separate ward of Kasturba Hospital, Ward No. 30 (28 beds) is prepared and their test samples will be sent to NIV Pune Laboratory.
3. All health facilities in Mumbai are advised to notify and refer any suspected cases to Kasturba Hospital…

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