Just when the world was recovering from COVID-19, a ‘potential pandemic’ disease got us all freaking out. The Monkeypox outbreak. International public health agency, The World Health Organisation, is now looking to rename Monkeypox as ‘MPOX’.
Why the name change?
Health experts across several countries reported to the WHO that racism and stigmatization were observed in different countries. To curb the stigma which was being associated with the disease and to tackle racism, the WHO has decided to change the name.
The outbreak of the disease in African countries which are perceived as being backward, resulted in the disease acquiring a racist identity. Further, since a majority of the cases were detected in homosexual men, the stigma against the infected increased. The advice from health experts to gay and bisexual men, to be more careful, ended up building a misunderstanding among people. Mpox was perceived as a disease of the LGBT community.
That is not true. Close contact of any kind with a patient can lead to any individual getting infected.
What is the Mpox virus, previously known as Monkeypox?
Firstly, it is a rare disease.
The mpox virus is known to primarily infect rodents, such as rats or mice and monkey, but it also infects people. It is commonly found in Central and West Africa. Any case detected outside the mentioned regions can be either due to international travel, imported animals carrying the virus, or close contact with a person with mpox infection.
Symptoms start showing about 5-21 days after exposure to the virus which lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Skin rash (first appears on the face, hands or feet spreading gradually to other parts of the body)
- Muscle aches and backaches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Common ways of transmission/infection:
Close and direct contact with rashes, scabs or body fluids of an infected person.
Extended close contact with respiratory droplets of a person carrying the virus. This includes sexual contact too.
Handling the clothes, sheets, blankets or other materials that have been in contact with rashes or body fluids of an infected person.
A pregnant person infected with mpox can spread the virus to a fetus.
Mpox also spreads from animal bites or scratches
Products made of infected animals
Direct contact with body fluids or rashes of infected animals
In order to prevent infection, it is best to avoid all the things mentioned above.
The type of mpox virus spreading in the last two years rarely leads to death. Mpox virus has a high chance of transmission only in cases of close contact. Infection without any close or direct contact is highly unlikely.
If you have a new rash or any symptoms of mpox, you must contact your healthcare provider at the earliest.