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Monkeypox Outbreak: Health Experts Issue Important Guidelines To Contain Spread

Monkeypox has so far been reported in 75 countries and the number of patients across the world has crossed 16,000. Read to know what the experts have to say.

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India, on Sunday, reported its fourth case of Monkeypox in a 34-year-old man from Delhi who is said to have no travel history. According to PTI sources, however, the patient attended a stag party in Himachal Pradesh's Manali and was admitted to the Maulana Azad Medical College Hospital three days ago and is currently being taken care of at Delhi's Lok Nayak Hospital.

Amid the rising cases of Monkeypox, Republic Media Network contacted Dr. Ishwar Gilada, an expert in infectious diseases and the Secretary General of the Organised Medicine Academic Guild, who revealed what the government should do to contain the disease.

What should the government do?

Speaking over the newly detected Monkeypox patient in Delhi, Dr. Gilada said that this case is more intriguing than the rest three from Kerala as the person has no travel history to a foreign country. He underscored that the patient must have been infected in Himachal stating that the disease has already spread in the country. 

Dr. Gilada again reiterated that Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and said that the WHO is "beating around the bush" and shying away from declaring it as an STD. According to him, around 99% of the cases have emerged due to sexual interaction among men, whereas only 1% of the cases are among women and children. He also stated that the disease has now reached the human-to-human transmission stage and warned that a huge population in India might get infected. 

"I think we should target it properly, we should describe it as an STI (Sexually-transmitted infection), we should start producing smallpox vaccination and it should be handled by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO)", Dr. Gilada said. About Monkeypox's transmission, he revealed that it is very different from COVID-19 as the infection spreads only through very close contact including sexual interactions. 

What should the public do?

Dr. Swati Maheshwari, an infectious diseases specialist, told Republic that people must first be aware that this disease can also emerge in India as it has already been reported in around 75 countries. Mentioning the Centre's guidelines of avoiding contact with an infected person, Dr. Maheshwari said that the public must also avoid eating meat and warned that those indulging in frequent sexual activities especially with same-sex partners are at higher risk of getting infected. She also said that those having a travel history must look out for the symptoms and isolate themselves in case they experience any symptoms. 

Currently, no specific treatment is available for smallpox and can only be controlled through vaccines against smallpox. Following prevention guidelines such as avoiding contact with dead animals, and infected people, as well as thorough cooking of food, could also help. 

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