Monkeypox virus which was usually spotted only in the African region has now been reported in 11 countries across Europe and North America, and in Australia with at least 85 cases and growing. It is the first global outbreak of its kind.
The Royal Government of Bhutan and the Ministry of Health is monitoring the viral disease as there is growing concern around the world on the rapid growth of cases in an increasing number of countries.
The disease usually transmits through direct contact with a person and some cases of it transmitting among gay men also indicate a sexual route.
The biggest concern will be if the virus can travel through an airborne route as aerosols and if it has undergone mutations to become more transmissible.
Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering within a few weeks without treatment. Yet, the disease can prove fatal in certain strains that can kill up to 10 per cent of people it infects.
As per the international media reports the milder strain causing the current outbreak kills one in 100, similar to when COVID-19 first hit. In the worst cases patients can succumb to a lethal shock throughout the body and blood poisoning.
Death is more likely to occur in younger patients. The skin lesions are painful and disfiguring, and can be the source of further infections.
World Health Organization (WHO) will be holding an emergency monkeypox meeting amid growing fears about the international outbreak. The meeting is to discuss declaring the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl Ding said COVID-19 had received a PHEIC alert in late January 2020.
Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are closely tracking recent clusters of monkeypox infections around the world.
In May 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox were identified in several non-endemic countries. Studies are currently underway to further understand the epidemiology, sources of infection, and transmission patterns.
According to Daily Mail, monkeypox is a rare viral infection which people usually pick up in the tropical areas of west and central Africa.
It is usually spread through direct contact with animals such as squirrels, which are known to harbor the virus.
However, it can also be transmitted through very close contact with an infected person.
Monkeypox was first discovered when an outbreak of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys kept for research in 1958. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the infection has been reported in a number of central and western African countries since then.
Only a handful of cases have been reported outside of Africa until now and they were confined to people with travel links to the continent.
Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. For purposes of controlling a monkeypox outbreak in the United States, smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccine immune globulin (VIG) can be used. Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus.