Sudden demand for smallpox vaccine in fight against monkeypox

Telangana health minister Harish Rao said the state is prepared to deal with monkeypox. Gandhi Hospital is the testing center and Fever Hospital is the treatment and isolation center, he added.

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  25 July 2022 1:18 PM GMT
Sudden demand for smallpox vaccine in fight against monkeypox

Hyderabad: In the wake of four monkeypox cases being reported in India and a suspected case in Telangana, there is a sudden demand for smallpox vaccine. It is believed that smallpox vaccine offers protection against monkeypox.

Telangana health minister Harish Rao said the state is prepared to deal with monkeypox. Gandhi Hospital is the testing center and Fever Hospital is the treatment and isolation center, he added.

To a question about procurement of smallpox vaccine, the minister said, "We have stock and if there is a shortage, we will procure it."

There are no guidelines by the World Health Organization for mass vaccination for monkeypox.

Smallpox vaccine

The production of smallpox vaccine has stopped since 1979. The vaccine is no longer manufactured in the world.

Smallpox vaccine was administered to all children born before 1979.

At present, the World Health Organization lists 20 diseases for which vaccines are available in the market.




Are those who have been administered the smallpox vaccine protected from monkeypox?

Cardiologist Dr. M.S.S Mukherjee says, "There is 80% protection for those who have been administered the smallpox vaccine when they were children. All those born before 1979 have been given that vaccine. We expect a large section of the Indian population to have protection."

Due to this reason, it is also contemplated that a large number of Indians will be asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

The virus is presently being transmitted via people who are coming from Africa and Gulf countries to India.

Monkeypox is now a human-to-human transmission

The pace at which monkeypox has spread in the world, it is strongly believed that there must have been human-to-human transmission in Africa before the actual detection in May 2022. According to WHO, 14,000 cases and five deaths were reported worldwide till 25 July 2022

This has led scientists to confer that the virus is exploring a human population which it had not done earlier.

The spread is largely through:

· Close contacts

· Sexual contact

· Skin abrasions

· Droplets

· Face-to-face contact

· From one patient to another through contaminated materials such as bedding, clothing, body fluids, utensils.

It's a prolonged illness

Severe cases of monkeypox will take at least three to four weeks of treatment. Those who have skin rashes will take time to heal. It is found to affect the sexual organs and mouth and face which often take time to heal. Doctors state that it is not a fatal disease.

Medicines developed to treat smallpox will be used to treat monkeypox too.

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