Monkeypox, the virus that is rapidly spreading across the globe, has created much panic among people and emergency measures have been initiated to control its outbreak. While, monkeypox is not known to be a severe and serious infection, a new range of symptoms are seen in the current outbreak besides the classic ones like fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, headaches, some of which are severe and life threatening. The lesions in the monkeypox are now appearing on mucosal tissues, in throat, genital and rectal areas apart from just hand, feet and faces, which leads to excruciating pain in patients. Monkeypox is also turning deadly with complications like encephalitis, seizures, long term disability and more. (Also read: Monkeypox or Chickenpox? Doctors explain the difference in symptoms)
There has been a decline in the number of cases of monkeypox worldwide – but in the past few months, this rare viral infection has spread to more than 80 countries – many which are out of the endemic area as per the CDC.
DEADLY MONKEYPOX COMPLICATIONS
“The classical symptoms include those of rash and fever, but rarely, this can manifest into neurological complications, beginning as confusion, seizures and finally slipping into coma,” says Dr Charu Dutt Arora, Consultant Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist, Head, Ameri Health, Asian Hospital, Faridabad.
The recent multicenter trial study reported in eClinical Medicine documented 19 studies with a complete sample size of 1512 participants out of which 1053 had positive monkeypox infection as per PCR Testing.
“The study reported that encephalitis (a form of brain swelling and inflammation), seizure and confusion were seen in patients suffering from this viral disease. Such neurological sequelae can lead to long term disability and high morbidity,” says Dr Arora.
MONKEYPOX’S IMPACT ON BRAIN AND MENTAL HEALTH
Dr Arora says there have been evidence of neuropsychiatric and mental health illnesses associated with monkeypox although there is no clarity on what drives these issues or if it is the immune reaction post infection that is responsible.
Studies done in the western countries have shown results in people having low mood, anxiety and depression after monkeypox infection.
“There is a need to do large multicenter international trials to understand the epidemiology and pathophysiology behind neurological and psychiatric implications of this rare viral disease,” says the expert.
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