What is the possibility of getting infected with monkeypox and COVID-19 at the same time?

In the case of COVID-19, the diagnosis is mostly done with an RTPCR test. On the other hand, the monkeypox is detected by histopathological diagnosis by microscopy.

Monkey pox, monkey pox infection, monkeypox pandemic, WHO, small pox, health news,
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. Israeli authorities said late Saturday, May 21, 2022, they have detected the country's first case of monkeypox in a man who returned from abroad and were looking into other suspected cases. (Image Credit: AP)

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more than 20 countries have reported cases of monkeypox, leaving people worried about getting infected with both the viral infections. According to experts, as there are no cases reported at present, there is no need to panic and they also emphasised that the chances are low considering monkeypox doesn’t spread as much as COVID-19. The doctors and health experts are aware of how monkeypox is transmitted, and also how it can be contained and this can help health authorities in tackling the outbreak.

According to WHO, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread through an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak and sing or breathe. On the other hand, Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease, originally transmitted from animals, that can later be transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.

The most common symptom in the case of monkeypox is a rash. According to WHO, the incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. According to the United Nations agency, monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two-four weeks. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status, and nature of complications. One may rarely get infected with Covid-19 and monkeypox virus as the former spreads quickly and easily by simply talking with an infected person.

“The infections remain under urgent investigation. The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the wider public is said to be very low but WHO stated that it can be spread from close contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva from coughing, close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects.  The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox which most people recover in a few weeks,” Dr. Bindumathi P. L. Sr. Consultant – Internal Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital told Financial Express.com.

Diagnosis and treatment

In the case of COVID-19, the diagnosis is mostly done with an RTPCR test. On the other hand, the monkeypox is detected by histopathological diagnosis by microscopy. The global health agency stated that the clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox, a related orthopoxvirus infection that has been eradicated. Smallpox was more easily transmitted and more often fatal as about 30 percent of patients died.

Meanwhile, WHO also mentions that the last case of naturally acquired smallpox occurred in 1977, and in 1980 smallpox was declared to have been eradicated worldwide after a global campaign of vaccination and containment.

Prevention

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), preventive measures for monkeypox are to avoid contact with animals that could harbour the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs); avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal; isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection, practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans, and use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients. Even though masks are not mandatory, it is important to practice hand hygiene and get vaccinated, experts urge to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“History of travel to Africa countries to be taken into consideration. One must check for symptoms such as fever, head ache, myalgia lymphadenopathy, skin lesions umbilicated with vesicles, scab formation. Vesicles also can occur in genital and perianal. Prevent spreading from social distancing, wearing N95 masks, isolation. Small pox vaccination may help. It is a viral infection and there is no specific treatment available currently.  The research of antiviral is going on,” Dr. Bindumathi P. L. added.

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