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Nagpur: The Centre on Wednesday issued guidelines for the Monkeypox virus which include 21 days of isolation, wearing masks, following hand hygiene and keeping lesions fully covered.

Until Wednesday, India recorded four cases of the virus, three from Kerala and one from Delhi. The central government has also mentioned in the guidelines that the patient should wait for the lesions to fully heal. The guidelines have also been issued for the close contacts of monkeypox patients.

As of now, the sole licensed vaccine for monkeypox is the one made for smallpox by a Danish company. Senior scientist at NIV Pune, Dr, Pragya Yadav said, “The isolation of the monkeypox virus will help in the development of diagnostic kits and also vaccines in future. For smallpox, live attenuated vaccines were successful for mass immunisation in the past. Similar approaches on new platforms can be tried for making vaccines.”

The Centre on Wednesday invited Expression of Interest (EOI) for developing a vaccine against the virus. The EOI documents state that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is willing to make available Monkeypox virus strains/isolates for undertaking research and development validation.

Is India prepared to tackle the Monkeypox virus?
Before moving ahead, we need to understand what monkeypox virus is. Monkeypox is considered to be a zoonotic disease and is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents. Human-to-human transmission is also possible.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency on Sunday.

Can Monkeypox be passed on from person to person?

  • Yes, the virus is transmissible from person to person through:
  • Any close physical contact or towels used by someone with monkeypox blisters or rashes
  • This includes sexual contact, kissing, cough, sneezes, even holding hands
  • Touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone infected with virus

Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch of infected animals like small mammals, including rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes) or through bush meat preparation.

What are the symptoms caused by monkeypox virus?

High temperature
Headache
Muscle aches
Backache
Swollen glands
Shivering
Exhaustion

Rashes usually appear 1 to 5 days after first symptoms

Medical director of Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Dr Suresh Kumar has advised people to “exercise caution, wear face masks, and maintain social distance to prevent the transmission of the virus.”

The Centre has released guidelines to check the virus spread in India, including those at the entry points to the country. International passengers have been advised to avoid close contact with sick persons, dead or live wild animals, and others.

They have also been advised against eating or preparing meat from wild game or using items such as powders and lotions, derived from wild animals from Africa.

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