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Asymptomatic Monkeypox: Its Health Complications, Vaccine And Dos & Don'ts

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox an international public health emergency [1].

Delhi has reported a fourth case of monkeypox, bringing India's total number of cases to nine. A 31-year-old Nigerian woman tested positive for the disease, becoming the first woman in the country to be diagnosed with it [2].

A total of nine cases have been reported, four from Delhi and five from Kerala. When the world is still battling COVID-19, monkeypox cases have been reported in other parts of the world, particularly in the US and Europe.

WHO describes monkeypox as a viral zoonosis, a virus transmitted from animals to humans, with symptoms similar to smallpox but less severe clinical manifestations. The most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, which may lead to various medical complications. In most cases, it is a self-limiting disease with symptoms lasting between two and four weeks [3].

What Is Asymptomatic Monkeypox?

There have been over 25,000 cases of monkeypox reported from 80 countries. Four deaths have been reported. It has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its rapid spread.

In addition to visible means of spreading the infection, there are several silent spreaders. Asymptomatic individuals are one of the major contributors to this silent spreader category [4].

It is important to note that, unlike other silent spreaders, such as those who do not test themselves and attempt to suppress the virus before others or those who do not take necessary precautions despite having symptoms - the asymptomatic ones are unaware that they are carrying a large load of the virus and are equally capable of spreading it to others.

An asymptomatic carrier has virtually the same potential as a visible infected individual.

According to a recent study, three men have tested positive for monkeypox without exhibiting any symptoms. "All three men denied having symptoms in the weeks before and after the sample was taken. None of them reported exposure to a diagnosed monkeypox case, nor did any of their contacts develop clinical monkeypox," the study says [5].

  • These patients can present with an atypical presentation, such as no rash or prodromal symptoms.
  • These patients may be asymptomatic during the incubation period of 5-21 days.
  • There is a possibility that asymptomatic cases may have minor symptoms that are not noticeable and go unnoticed, eventually resulting in a serious complication such as encephalitis - this calls attention to the fact that asymptomatic cases can spread the disease just as effectively as symptomatic cases.
  • Since they do not exhibit any symptoms, it is difficult to determine their presence and, therefore, determine how they transmit.
  • It is possible that you may not show symptoms if you have a good immune system and a low virus load entering your body, but this does not mean that you cannot spread the infection. A person who has had a few minutes of exposure to the virus can be asymptomatic and pose a significant threat to the community.

Centre Releases Dos And Don'ts To Prevent Contracting Monkeypox

Following an increase in monkeypox cases in the country, the Union health ministry released a list of dos and don'ts to avoid contracting the disease [6].

Dos

  • To prevent the spread of the disease, the infected person should be isolated from other individuals.
  • Make use of hand sanitisers.
  • Hand washing with soap and water.
  • Wear disposable gloves when close to a patient and cover the mouth with a mask.
  • Sanitise the environment with disinfectants.

Don'ts

  • Make sure you don't share linen, bedding, clothes, towels, etc., with people who have the infection.
  • Do not wash soiled linen or laundry of patients with those of non-infected people.
  • Even if you only have symptoms, don't go to public events.
  • Do not stigmatise people who have contracted the virus or those suspected of contracting it.
  • Do not believe any rumours or misinformation.

Monkeypox Vaccine Development In India

State health officials have begun preparing to intensify surveillance and isolation of suspected and confirmed cases of the disease. In addition, Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with Adar Poonawalla, executive director of the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune, to discuss the possibility of developing a vaccine [7].

According to news agency ANI, Poonawalla stated: "My meeting with Mandaviya went well as usual. All preparations for the vaccine are being done. I briefed the minister on this. We are researching the possible ways to develop a vaccine for monkeypox" [8].

On A Final Note...

Asymptomatic cases and the extent to which they can spread the infection remain unknown. According to the WHO's latest report on monkeypox, it is unknown to what extent asymptomatic infection can occur.

Additionally, a task force on monkeypox has been established to monitor the developing situation in the country closely and to decide on response initiatives to prevent the spread of the disease.

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