A THAI expert said in a Facebook post today (May 25) that monkeypox, which the whole world is currently watching as there are now 309 cases in 22 countries, is far more difficult to catch than Covid-19 and smallpox, Amarin TV said.
Dr. Yong Phuworawan, the head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, pointed out this is not a new disease and has been spreading in Africa. It had entered the US in 2003 with there being over 30 cases in a number of states.
Most of the current patients are male in the 20-59 age group.
As monkeypox is much more difficult to transmit compared to Covid-19 and smallpox, the chances of a pandemic like the latter two diseases is very low, he added.
Meanwhile Dr. Chakrarat Pittayawong-anon, head of Epidemiology Division, the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Disease Control, said an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) had been set up to monitor people entering Thailand from countries where monkeypox cases have appeared, TV Channel 7 said.
He said most patients recover on their own but some develop severe symptoms including pneumonia, meningitis. infection in the bloodstream and corneal infection leading to vision loss.
He urged Thais planning to travel to countries where there is an outbreak of this disease to be extra cautious especially when participating in activities with large groups of people. When doing so they should wear a face mask, keep their distance and wash their hands often.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, in humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
The illness begins with:
– Muscle aches
– Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:
The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks. In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease.
Top: Monkeypox is similar to smallpox but less severe and less infectious too. Credit: Roger Harris/Science Photo Library via Getty Images and published by Livescience.com
Home Page: A test tube labelled “monkeypox virus positive” is seen in this illustration taken on May 22, 2022. Photo: Reuters and published by VOA