The center has announced to screen all international arrivals to ports and airports for monkeypox virus after Kerala reported the second case of the disease in India. Monkey smallpox has been causing international concern for several weeks now after cases began to rise in non-epidemic countries in Europe, North America and the Middle East. The disease has long been endemic to several African countries. In that sense, unlike Covid, this is not a new virus. That said, it is welcome that GOI is taking precautions at this stage while investigations are underway to explain the recent outbreak in monkeypox cases. . If there is one thing that Covid has taught us, it is that one can never be too prepared in such situations. Because, nothing predicts the trajectory that a potential pandemic could take. Therefore, it is better to be cautious and have systems ready even if they are not required in the end.
However, let’s not panic here either. From all available reports, it is clear that the monkeypox virus does not spread as easily as Covid, which is transmitted by bodily fluids and therefore the transmission of the infection is through close contact. In addition, the disease usually has mild symptoms in infected people and is rarely fatal. Furthermore, the smallpox vaccine is known to provide adequate protection against monkeypox and is even effective in treating the disease.
Therefore, in addition to disease surveillance, the GOI should plan for smallpox vaccine production in the event of a wider spread of monkeypox among the general population. Covid highlights the nature of speed in addressing public health challenges. Adequate readiness will be the mantra in dealing with monkeypox.
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