Those at risk of monkeypox and how to diagnose, treat the disease
The Public Health Ministry has highlighted how to diagnose and treat monkeypox, with the Medical Services Department announcing guidelines.
It said monkeypox is not severe and patients could recover without hospitalisation, but it could be severe for people with low immunity and children.
The fatality rate is below 5 per cent while the disease could stay in one’s body from two to four weeks. The incubation period is around seven to 21 days.
Patients get fever and rash first. The rash starts as macules before evolving into papules, vesicles and pustules, respectively, and then turn into scabs. The amount is relative to the severity of the disease.
Most get infected after coming into direct contact with a patient’s rashes or secretions.
Those at risk have these symptoms:
- Fever higher than 38 degrees Celcius or a fever with one other symptom, such as sore throat, headache, muscle ache, back pain or lymphadenopathy.
- Rashes and blisters on the skin, genitalia or other parts of the body. These could be papules, vesicles, pustules or scabs.
People at risk also include those with one epidemiological link within 21 days, including:
- Contact with monkeypox patients
- Arrival from other countries, participating in any activity with monkeypox patients or in an occupation that involves close contact with foreign travellers
- Contact with rodents or small mammals imported from outbreak continents such as Africa.
At least two labs will test samples taken from patients. The result will be confirmed as positive if the monkeypox virus (MPXV) is found via real-time PCR or DNA sequencing.
Cases will be investigated further to see if the patients contracted the virus inside the country or from outside.
Patients will be given conventional treatment because there are no anti-viral drugs to tackle the virus at the moment, while tecovirimat will be given to severe patients.
- People with compromised immunity, like those with HIV or cancer.
- People who have received an organ or bone marrow transplant over the past two years.
- People suffering from immunosuppression.
- Children aged eight or less.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- People suffering from skin disease.