Is it possible to get infected by coronavirus and monkeypox at the same time? Experts weigh in

Recently, the WHO also said that the risk of high transmission of monkeypox virus among the general public appears to be low

coronavirus, monkepox, WHO
. Novel coronavirus is highly contagious, whereas monkeypox doesn’t spread that easily. (Photo: Pixabay)

Is it a concept of science thriller fiction or a not-so-distant reality? Can novel coronavirus and monkeypox virus infect one person at a same time? These are some of the worries that many of us are living with ever since the news of monkeypox virus broke. There have been many assumptions and several alarmist takes. But what are the experts saying? How do they view this scenario? Here’s what we know so far:

First things first. So far, across the world, not a single case has been reported where any person was found to be infected with both these diseases. Experts say that the chances are extremely rare. Moreover, monkeypox has been around for years now and the scientist community knows the trend of transmission as well as the ways to contain the viral spread.

The second important point is the type of these viruses also differ. While one is in RNA, the other is a DNA virus. This crucial point defines the modes of infection. Novel coronavirus is highly contagious, whereas monkeypox doesn’t spread that easily. It needs very close contact with a monkeypox-positive patient to get infected. Recently, the WHO also said that the risk of high transmission of monkeypox virus among the general public appears to be low. All nations have been advised to increase screening. The WHO also feels that the outbreak is still in the containable phase. WHO Emergencies Programme’s smallpox team chief Dr Rosamund Lewis says that the modes of transmission of monkeypox virus are fairly well-known.

So, can the coexistence theory be entirely discarded? Well, the answer is no. The Indian Express quoted Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, consulting chest physician, as saying that both these viruses can ‘definitely coexist’. He also adds that these are two very ‘different kinds of viral infections.’

Problem with the twin infections at the same time is that the diagnosis will be very difficult. This is because the symptoms are very similar except for the blisters. So, in the early stage, the patient may exhibit common symptoms such as dry cough and high fever. Also, in case both these viruses infect a person, it would surely be fatal. Dr Ladhani says that this scenario will make a patient ‘more immunocompromised’.

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