Rashes and fever, symptoms common to both chickenpox and varicella, have confused people, although doctors have cautioned that there is a difference in how symptoms of the two viral diseases present in patients.
They also advised seeing a doctor to clear any doubts.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease (a virus transmitted from animals to humans) with symptoms similar to those seen in smallpox patients in the past, although clinically less severe.
dr Ramanjit Singh, a consulting dermatologist at Medanta Hospital, said people are more susceptible to viral infections during the rainy season and cases of chickenpox are common during this time along with other infections, which also show symptoms such as rashes and nausea.
“Because of this situation, some patients get confused and misinterpret chickenpox as monkeypox. A patient can tell whether or not they have monkeypox by understanding the sequence and onset of symptoms,” said Dr. Ramanjit Singh.
He further explained that monkeypox usually starts with fever, malaise, headache, sore throat and sometimes cough and swollen lymph nodes (enlarged lymph nodes), and all of these symptoms appear four days before skin lesions, rashes and other problems that mainly start with the eyes are obvious distributed over the whole body.
Other experts agree, saying that there are other symptoms of monkeypox besides the skin infection, but it’s always best to see a doctor to eliminate any doubts.
In two recently reported cases, two suspected cases of monkeypox turned out to be chickenpox.
A suspected case of monkeypox was admitted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital in Delhi last week with a fever and lesions. She tested negative for the infection but was diagnosed with chickenpox. Similarly, an Ethiopian national who traveled to Bangalore was tested for chickenpox after showing symptoms, but his report confirmed he had chickenpox.
India has so far reported four cases of monkeypox – three from Kerala and one from Delhi. dr Satish Kaul, director of internal medicine at the Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said: “In chickenpox, the lesions are larger than in chickenpox. With chickenpox, lesions appear on the palms and soles. In chickenpox, the lesions are self-limiting after seven to eight days. But that’s not the case with monkeypox. In chickenpox, the lesions are blister-like and itchy. In monkeypox, the lesions are extensive and not itchy. dr Satish Kaul also said that monkeypox fever lasts longer, and such a patient has enlarged lymph nodes.
Regarding the virus that causes chickenpox, Dr. SCL Gupta, Medical Director of Batra Hospital, that chickenpox is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus that is not serious but also causes skin rashes. “It’s chickenpox season. Usually during the monsoon there is this humidity, the high temperature, washing with water, the formation of dampness and wet clothes, all these lead to the growth of the virus.
He said: “There is a religious aspect associated with the disease. People treat them like “gods” and therefore these patients are not treated with any kind of medicine. You are isolated and have time to recover. »
Regarding monkeypox, Dr. SCL Gupta that such a virus requires an animal host but will heal on its own with a sore throat, fever and normal signs of the virus.
“The main sign of this virus is a rash that contains fluid in the body, resulting in a viral infection that weakens the body’s resistance, but problems arise due to its complications. A bacterial infection leads to broken bones and other complications in the body.” At present, monkeypox is in its juvenile stage. We don’t have the right treatment. We simply follow the method of isolating and treating the suspected patient based on their symptoms. For sore throats, we use the generics we normally take. It is therefore a symptomatic treatment. »
Doctors also received inquiries as to whether a previous chickenpox infection makes a patient immune to chickenpox, to which the answer was definitely no.
Both are caused by different viruses, the route of transmission is different, and previous infection does not guarantee protection from the new virus, said Dr. Rajinder Kumar Singhal, Senior Director and Head of Department of Internal Medicine, BLK Max Hospital of New Delhi. . He pointed out that people who are vaccinated against smallpox have a lower risk of contracting monkeypox.
“The smallpox vaccine was discontinued after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease completely eradicated around 1979-80. People born before 1980 who received the smallpox vaccine have a lower risk of contracting monkeypox. Smallpox and monkeypox are caused by viruses of the same family.”
Because of this similarity between smallpox and monkeypox, many countries have allowed the administration of “smallpox” vaccines, but this is still not allowed in India. “The virus is in the juvenile stage and doctors are still recognizing it,” added Dr. SCL Gupta added.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by the NDTV team and was released from a syndicated feed.)
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