Health authorities taking preventive measures against Monkeypox

Sri Lankan Health authorities yesterday said that they will take appropriate preventive measures against Monkeypox after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that it was an international public health emergency.

Since the beginning of the year upto July 20, the WHO has detected more than 14,500 suspected and confirmed cases in 72 countries or regions, a clear rise from about 3,040 cases reported at the beginning of May this year.

The health authorities further said that they will closely monitor the situation while noting that Sri Lanka has not recorded any suspected or confirmed Monkeypox infection.

Meanwhile, the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has warned that there is a risk of MonkeyPox entering Sri Lanka. Director of the Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of Sri Jayewardenepura University Dr. Chandima Jeewandara told the media that as the symptoms of MonkeyPox is visible, it is easy to identify the infected cases, adding that the spread is far less than what was experienced with COVID-19.

For the second time in two years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken the extraordinary step of declaring a global emergency. Monkeypox has spread in just a few weeks to dozens of countries and infected thousands of people.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Saturday (23) declared a “public health emergency of international concern,” a designation the WHO currently uses to describe only two other diseases, COVID-19 and Polio.

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria” for a public health emergency,” Dr. Tedros said.

According to the WHO, Monkeypox is an illness caused by the Monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person.

The most common symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes. This is followed or accompanied by the development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks. The rash can be found on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body.

In most cases, the symptoms of Monkeypox go away on their own within a few weeks. However, in some people, an infection can lead to medical complications and even death. Newborn babies, children and people with underlying immune deficiencies may be at risk of more serious symptoms and death from Monkeypox.

“Complications from Monkeypox include secondary skin infections, pneumonia, confusion, and eye problems. In the past, between 1 percent to 10 percent of people with Monkeypox have died. It is important to note that death rates in different settings may differ due to a number of factors, such as access to health care. These figures may be an overestimate because surveillance for Monkeypox has generally been limited in the past. In the newly affected countries where the current outbreak is taking place, there have been no deaths to date,” WHO sources said.

Monkeypox spreads from person to person through close contact with someone who has a Monkeypox rash. The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus, after birth through skin-to-skin contact or from a parent with Monkeypox to an infant or child during close contact.

Monkeypox can also spread to people when they come into physical contact with an infected animal. Animal hosts include rodents and primates. The risk of catching monkeypox from animals can be reduced by avoiding unprotected contact with wild animals, especially those that are sick or dead (including their meat and blood).

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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