The Giving Capsules: COVID -19, Marburg Virus and now the MonkeyPox Virus

Monkey Pox Virus
Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)

Vaccines alone won’t end outbreaks – at-risk individuals will have to take action too. Do I say it was Covid-19 pandemic? We are still recording fresh cases as China locks down some residents in Wuhan. It is Covid-19, and then we heard of the Marburg Virus.  Now Monkey Pox Virus is also declared a Global Health Emergency as 16,000 cases are reported in 75 Countries, with 5 Confirmed to be dead as at date.

Covid-19 & Marburg virus

Research updates and recent news on Covid-19 has it that, Wuhan – the original epicenter of the pandemic is reported to lock down one (1) million residents as they deal with a fresh outbreak. This comes after fresh studies linked the virus to its market in Wuhan. Recent studies points to the fact that China first ignored the outbreak, silenced the whistle blowers, and when cases began to increase, they attempted a cover up by which time the whole world was experiencing the insurgence of a new virus – Covid-19. New study reveals truth about the Covid origins.

And despite China’s denial about that fate the world perhaps sees Wuhan as the purported origin as the independent reports provided by scientist have more evidence to substantiate the theory that the Huanan market in Wuhan, China was the early epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic finding other alternatives scenarios as “unlikely”.

The Wuhan Huanan seafood wholesale market simply known as the Huanan seafood market was a  live animal and seafood market in Jianghan District, in Wuhan City, the capital of Hubei province in Central China. Did the virus come from the lab and spread in the market or from the market to the lab? How about the denial the virus originated from Wuhan. We live to see what further researches; scientists could prove against all these claims.

From covid-19, we heard briefly of the Marburg Virus. The threat of Marburg virus disease spread exists but is low and that adherence to protocols and infection prevention and control strategies remain crucial in addition to strengthened continuous surveillance activities for early detection and adequate containment.

Marburg virus

Outbreak of Marburg virus’ that causes 90% of patients to bleed to death from their nose, mouth and eyes is reported by W.H.O. Some reported cases suggests patients were not known to each other which suggests virus is spreading more widely. Infected patients become ‘ghost-like’, often developing deep-set eyes and expressionless faces. This is usually accompanied by bleeding from multiple orifices — including the nose, gums, eyes and vagina. There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since it was discovered in Marburg, Germany, in 1967. Cases have mostly been in southern and eastern Africa, including Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, WHO said. Only one other time was a case found in West Africa, after Guinea confirmed a single case.

Now the Monkey Pox Virus and matters arising

The Monkey pox virus is spreading at an alarming pace. 75 countries have reported 16,000 cases with 5 confirmed to be dead as at July 31, 2022. Vaccines are said to be running out of stocks. The monkey pox outbreak was Saturday July 23, 2022 declared a global Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the Ghana Health Services (GHS) – the total confirmed cases of the monkey pox outbreak in Ghana are now 34 with the cases recorded in six regions. The GHS has said Greater Accra, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Eastern, and Upper West are the regions where the cases have been identified. The last confirmed case in Ghana was on July 15, 2022 and the ages of cases range from 9 months to 45 years. No fatality has been recorded among cases with majority of cases being male, according to the GHS.

To compare past periodic cases linked to travel to widespread countries, health officials have not confirmed Europe and America the primarily centered source of infection for the current monkey pox virus outbreak. The virus is spreading faster right now in Europe and America, making it the epic centers of the world now.

It shows that as of 28 July 2022, there are 2,469 confirmed and 77 highly probable monkeypox cases in the UK: 2,546 in total. Of these, 2,436 are in England alone. The monkeypox virus is said to be hitting gay men the hardest the daily mail confirmed which an estimated 95% of United States infections also occurring among them. New York City is said to be home to one of the US largest LGBT communities. As at date the global cases stands at: US (5,189), Spain (4, 298), Germany (2,595), UK (2, 546), France (1, 955), Brazil (1, 266), Netherlands (878), Portugal (633) and Italy (480).

Monkeypox is, in general, a self-limiting, non-life-threatening disease in otherwise healthy people. The disease is better known in African countries, where it has been observed and reported over decades, including among children and older people as well as people with underlying conditions.

Beyond social and sexual networks of men who have sex with men, it’s clear that cases in other population groups, including women and children – some of whom may be vulnerable to more severe disease – are increasing, although these remain minimal. Close-contact sexual transmission is the key mode of spread, but cases are being detected through household transmission episodes, and sometimes with no clear exposure history at all.

WHO acknowledges the uncertainties about how this outbreak will play out, they however request that we respond to the epidemiology before us, focusing on the most dominant mode of transmission – skin-to-skin contact during sexual encounters – and the groups at highest risk of infection. As such, the responsibility for stopping this outbreak is necessarily a joint responsibility, shared among health institutions and authorities, governments, and affected communities and individuals themselves.

Human-to-human transmission occurs among people in close physical contact, with the increase in recent cases linked to sexual contact, suggesting that the virus linked to the disease can be sexually transmitted. The current outbreak highlights the importance of vigilant safe sexual practices and suggests monkey pox can be transmitted while the infected person displays few or no symptoms; however, the risk is currently assessed as low for individuals not routinely engaging with multiple or anonymous sexual partners. Majority of cases were concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners. Would it be too early to designate the virus?

It spreads with contact with an affected person or through bodily fluid like blood and saliva. The reported incubation period is from 6-16days. However symptoms may last from 2 to 4 weeks. Symptoms include; fever, headache, muscle ache, back pain, swollen lymph nose /nodes, chills and fatigue. There are currently no remedy or cure for the virus yet. But most people are reported to be well on their own in few weeks. But children could die per reports. In 2019 a vaccine was approved. The European Union (EU) approves smallpox vaccine for use against monkey pox. The Center for Disease control (CDC) is also reported to saying smallpox vaccines are 85% effective in preventing monkey pox.

Epidemiology of the disease

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. There are two clades of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The name monkeypox originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. The first human case was identified in a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.

Monkeypox is usually self-limiting but may be severe in some individuals, such as children, pregnant women or persons with immune suppression due to other health conditions. Human infections with the West African clade appear to cause less severe disease compared to the Congo Basin clade, with a case fatality rate of 3.6% compared to 10.6% for the Congo Basin clade.

You may be wondering what monkeypox spread is all about? Monkeypox spreads through close contact with an animal or human that carries the monkeypox virus. Animal-to-human transmission can occur in people who interact with animals from West or Central Africa or those involved in the exotic pet trade. A person can contract the monkeypox virus via: an animal scratch or bite.

Can you get monkey pox twice? “Most adults who’ve had chickenpox don’t get it again. “They can get shingles, but that’s typically in a patch of skin on one side of the body. Monkeypox lesions can be seen anywhere on the body, including the palms or soles.”

How long does monkeypox last? Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Wondering if smallpox and monkeypox are related? Because Monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

To those currently at highest risk – men who have sex with men and especially those with multiple sexual partners – WHO say: Get the facts as the disease is spreading, and also know what one can do to protect oneself. Consider limiting your sexual partners and interactions at this time. This may be a tough message for some, but exercising caution can safeguard you and your wider community.  While vaccination may be available to some people with higher exposure risks, it is not a silver bullet, and WHO still ask you to take steps to lower that risk for the time being. If you have or think you have monkeypox, you are infectious – so do everything you can to prevent spreading the disease. Isolate if you can, do not have sex while you are recovering, and do not attend parties or large gatherings where close contact will happen.

Public health officials have advised the practice of basic health precautions, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering the nose and mouth when coughing, avoiding obviously ill individuals and addition to avoiding overcrowded areas, such as nightclubs, and consider using safe sexual practices, in countries reporting monkeypox transmission. Seek medical attention if symptoms develop within two weeks of being in affected areas.  And remember, Vaccines alone won’t end the monkeypox outbreak – at-risk individuals will have to take action too

Baptista is an influencer, a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is a Hybrid Professional, HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can follow this conversation on our social media pages Facebook / LinkedIn/ Twitter / Instagram: FoReal HR Services.   Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313.  Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC


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