Reemergence of Monkeypox, a viral zoonosis or a virus transmitted to humans from animals, recently made rounds on social media after it appeared in the middle of a global health crisis caused by Covid-19.
With its recent detection in some parts of Africa, United States, and Canada, it begs the question: is there a treatment for it?
There is no antiviral drug for Monkeypox. This is according to Dr. Marissa Alejandria, of the Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Diseases and Director of the Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).
During the Department of Health’s (DOH) press briefing on Tuesday, May 24, she said that management of Monkeypox is done by treating its symptoms as well as through supportive care.
“For fever, we give paracetamol. Kung may pain doon sa lesions (if there is pain in the lesions), then pain medications,” she said.
“Yung lesions mismo, parang sa chickenpox hindi siya dapat kamutin. Do not scratch, or touch the lesions as much as possible. Keep it clean and dry,” she added.
She explained that the lesions will spontaneously dry up while she also stressed the need to maintain proper hygiene. This is to avoid secondary bacterial infection with the skin lesions.
Alejandria also mentioned that it takes two to four weeks before the skin lesions dry up. Patients who have Monkeypox are isolated so as to avoid infecting others.
“We want to avoid yung complications kasi yung complications ang pwede maging cause of death yung pwede magkaroon ng pneumonia (We want to avoid having complications because these are what lead to deaths, like if someone acquired pneumonia),” she said.
Kids in Africa, she stated, are more susceptible to the virus since they have not received smallpox vaccines and are more likely at risk of dying from Monkeypox. She added that the case is also the same with those who are immunocompromised. Smallpox vaccines have not been regularly produced since it was already eradicated in the 1980s. But Alejandria mentioned that this can prevent the infection of Monkeypox.
In line with the presence of Monkeypox, DOH said that it has heightened border control and surveillance in close coordination with the Bureau of Quarantine, Bureau of Immigration as well as port authorities.
Monkeypox has already been classified by the DOH as a notifiable disease which means that all cases involving it should be immediately reported to the Epidemiology Bureau and concerned Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units (RESUs).