Points of view):
By Kumudini Hettiarachchi
Do not panic, is the message that experts underline, as the Ministry of Health announced that the first case of monkeypox has been detected in Sri Lanka.
The first person detected with monkeypox is a 19-year-old boy who had returned from abroad on November 1. The Medical Research Institute (MRI), which had been sent a sample for testing by doctors who suspected the patient was afflicted with monkeypox, confirmed the infection on Thursday.
“Monkeypox is usually transmitted from person to person through ‘close contact,'” said consultant virologist Dr. Geethani Galagoda, chairman of the Sri Lanka Forum for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases.
It is a self-limited viral disease. The infection lasts for a certain period of time, a few weeks. The incubation period (the time between the virus entering a person’s body and causing symptoms) is about 3 to 17 days, and the illness is known to last about 2 to 4 weeks.
Dr. Galagoda said that in the early stages of infection, a patient can spread the disease through large respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth, exhaled by sneezing or coughing, to a person who is nearby. The other way of spread is through contact with the infected person’s skin lesions.
“This viral disease can also be sexually transmitted, it can be as a result of close contact,” he said.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
swollen lymph nodes
Skin lesions (a part of the skin that has an abnormal appearance compared to the surrounding skin)
Muscle aches and back pain
Respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough
Explaining that the disease is generally not dangerous, Dr. Galagoda says that the very young and very old and those with reduced immunity (who are immunocompromised, such as diabetics) could be more vulnerable.
Sexual Health and HIV consultant Dr. Geethani Samaraweera of the National STD/AIDS Campaign also emphasized that monkeypox is spread by “very close contact.”
She said that as a person’s monkeypox infection progresses and a rash begins to break out, contact with the vesicles would spread the disease to others.
The vesicles or blisters are thin-walled sacs filled with a liquid, usually transparent like the one you get when you are affected by chickenpox.
“These skin lesions, which can occur all over the body as well as around the genitals, are contagious until fully healed. Even the scabs that form on the blisters are still infectious,” said Dr. Samaraweera.
He said close contact with skin blisters and things like clothing, bedding and towels that may have been contaminated by an infected person should be avoided. If someone suspects they have monkeypox, that person should seek the advice of a doctor or go to a skin clinic or STD/AIDS clinic at a state hospital.
Dispelling the misconception that STD/AIDS clinics in state hospitals are accessed only by people with sexually transmitted diseases, Dr. Samaraweera added that while these clinics treat people with sexually transmitted diseases sexual, anyone who has a problem with the genitals can walk. seeking advice and treatment.
In August, sunday times reported that the Virology Department of the Medical Research Institute (MRI) had received RT-PCR kits for the detection of monkeypox.
The two types of RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) kits that the MRI received had been developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology in Pune, India. On July 23 of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Although the world has known about the monkeypox virus for more than 50 years and infections were detected mainly in Central and West Africa and in very few countries, this year (2022) many cases have been detected and are being detected in a large number of countries. .
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