Recently, on 25th of November, 2022, World health organization (WHO) renamed Monkey Pox to MPOX. The transition period for the name change would be a year, giving WHO enough time to change its publications and standard procedures. Under the International classification of diseases (IDC), it is the responsibility of the WHO to name any disease.

The incident comes after WHO received multiple complaints and suggestions to change the name. The reports of growing stigma around the name are the underlying reason for the change. The infection has so far infected 80000 people, the first viral outbreak. The infection has taken 55 lives with a presence in over 110 nations.

The fatality rate as of now stands at 3-6%.

Let us now look into the details of the infection and also check out some tips at the end of the article to prevent the deadly infection.

Why WHO changed the name?

WHO said that mpox would be the new name for the infection. The name monkeypox was responsible for spreading misinformation and stigma around the name. It also resulted in online hate and misinformation spreading about the disease. A common misconception about the disease is that monkeys are the reason for the spread of the disease in humans. To eradicate the notion, MPOX will be synonymous with monkeypox for a year now.

Growing stigma around the name:

The people infected with the infection are facing terrible times. The stigma is real, from being accused of intimating with monkeys to being compared to physically appearing as monkeys. However, the infection has been seen growing in men involved in same-sex relationships and among those with a history of one or more sexually transmitted diseases such as acute HIV, Syphilis etc. This has also raised alarming concerns among experts. Hence, it was proposed to WHO to ponder upon changing the name.

Busting the myth:

It might be confusing initially, but as the name suggests, the infection was first detected in monkeys; hence it was named monkeypox. However, the infection is identified as a Zoonotic infection, which can transfer from animals to humans. The infection can also spread from human to human and from the environment to human. Hence, the misconception that monkeys are spreading the infection is false.

Let us recollect some basic information about the disease and how we can prevent the spread of the infection.

What is Monkey Pox

WHO defines it as “the illness caused by monkeypox virus”. The virus belongs to the orthopoxvirus category, similar to chicken pox and smallpox. The infection is physically evident. As the picture inserted shows, the infection occurs through scabs and sores. These sores are commonly seen in the throat, eyes, body, vagina and anus. The rashes on the body that last more than two weeks are also a disease symptom.

When was the first incident reported:

The first incident of the Monkey Pox outbreak was recently recorded in the United Kingdom on 6th May 2022 in a patient who had a travel history of Nigeria. Monkeypox, discovered back in 1958, was initially identified in monkeys. The disease was then named monkeypox in 1970. However, at that time, the disease was limited to African nations.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox:

The infection includes sores and scabs accompanied by body aches and swollen lymph nodes. The infection, however, comes with additional symptoms.

  • Sores/rashes on the body ranging from 1 to thousands in number
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Body ache
  • Back Pain
  • Rashes on the skin, such as the palm, genital area and feet soles.
  • Body rash/sores that last more than two weeks

How does the infection spread?

As per WHO, the infection is not as contagious as other viral infections such as Corona Virus. The virus spreads only after close contact with the diseased. The human-to-human infection occurs via the following modes:

  • Mouth-to-mouth contact (kissing, talking closely, whispering)
  • Mouth-to-skin contact (touch, kiss on skin, oral sex)
  • Skin-to-skin contact (Vaginal, Anal intercourse)

Humans can catch an infection from animals through physical contacts, such as through bites or scratches.

Scientists have not yet clarified how the infection spreads from the environment to humans, and it is still under investigation.

Which nations have been impacted:

With the infection spreading to 110 nations, here is the data presented by WHO on the spread of infection.

The data shows that the infection has prevailed in 7 African nations only; however, it now spreads across 110 nations. The outbreak was most prominent this summer, but cases are rising.

 So far, the highest number of cases have been registered in the United States, comprising almost 27% of total confirmed cases and witnessing the highest number of causalities due to the infection.

As of 1st December 2022, Other nations on the list are Brazil (9905 confirmed cases), Spain (7405 confirmed cases), France (4107 confirmed cases), Colombia (3803 confirmed cases), United Kingdom (3720 confirmed cases), Germany (3672 confirmed cases), Peru (3444 confirmed cases), and Mexico (3292 confirmed cases).

Is there any vaccine:

Yes! In the United Nations, two kinds of vaccines are approved to treat the infection, namely:

  • ACAM2000

JYNNEOS has two doses of the vaccine designed to treat monkeypox and smallpox symptoms.

ACAM2000 was initially designed to combat smallpox and later modified to treat monkeypox. Therefore, pregnant women, infants less than a year old and people with certain heart and skin conditions should duly consult a doctor or refrain from taking the vaccine.

How to protect yourself:

With the number of cases rising, preventing the infection is also vital. In our research, we have gathered a few safety tips and would like to share them with you.

  1. Avoid close contact, such as mouth-to-mouth contact or sexual intercourse, with anyone who is suspected or infected with the virus.
  2. Provide care about your contact with wild animals. Don’t touch wild animals directly.
  3. Avoid direct consumption of meat and meat-related products if monkeypox is prevalent in your area/country.
  4. Get vaccinated and keep informed about the status of MPOX in your area.
  5. Sanitize hands and wash them frequently.
  6. Disinfect any surface that an infected person has touched.
  7. Avoid contact with anyone who has rash or related symptoms similar to monkeypox.
  8. If you have tested positive for the virus, isolate yourself and your items, such as utensils and toiletries, to safeguard others around you.

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