Monkeypox and Covid-19: an expert shares his differences

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With monkey pox cases being reported in more than 20 countries, people are worried about its spread and transmission, especially under the conditions of Covid-19. Therefore, to stay safe, experts advise caution and adoption of preventative strategies.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is spread differently from a Covid-19. “WHO encourages people to stay informed from trusted sources, such as national health authorities, about the extent of the outbreak in their community (if any), symptoms and prevention,” it says. her in a statement posted on her website.

Monkeypox and Covid-19

Monkeypox is not a new disease, said Dr Sulaiman Ladhani, Consultant Pulmonologist, MD Chest and Tuberculosis, Masina Hospital, Mumbai. “It was first reported in 1958 and is believed to be similar to smallpox, but it is a milder form. It is also caused by a virus – like Covid-19 – but the two are unrelated to distance.

Monkeypox usually causes fever, chills, rashes, and sores on the face or genitals. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coronaviruses normally contain a single strand of genetic material called RNA, and the monkeypox virus carries its genetic code in DNA, which is double-stranded. This is the first big difference. Moreover, the monkeypox virus is much larger than the one that causes Covid-19, and it produces proteins that disrupt the defenses of the human immune system. They have been found in studies to look like little bricks,” he said.

Is monkeypox transmitted through monkeys?

Discovered in monkey colonies in 1958, the virus is normally seen in African countries, although monkeys are probably not the source. It is mainly spread by rodents like squirrels, Dr Ladhani said, pointing out that people can spread to each other through contact with “bodily fluids or bites from infected rodents and squirrels, or if a person comes into contact with body fluid or legions on the skin or mucous surfaces such as the cheeks in the mouth”.

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It is also assumed that the disease is also sexually transmitted in sexually active men of the same sex. However, Dr Ladhani said: ‘It’s not generally thought to be a route of transmission, but it’s what’s being speculated following the increase in cases.’


Monkeypox has flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, but the only symptom that differentiates it from Covid-19 is the presence of a rash and swollen lymph nodes that develop after one or three days. These rashes begin as flat lesions that later fill with pus; they could scab over and dry out in two to four weeks. Thus, the incubation period can be around seven to 15 days, and the symptoms are self-limiting and can last for two to four weeks. The known mortality rate is around 10%, according to the WHO. “In case of Covid, the symptoms are more like those of the flu, such as fever, headache and runny nose. And if not contained, it can lead to shortness of breath, loss of taste, and loss of smell. he said.

Although monkeypox also has flu-like symptoms, these are more fever, headache, body aches with enlarged lymph nodes, and rashes and skin lesions as described.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of monkeypox is made specifically by microscopy, Dr. Ladhani said. In two to three weeks, the person can recover.

“This disease can be easily contained and vaccinating the entire population at this stage is not necessarily different Covid-19. Treatment is mainly supportive and symptomatic, however, the person should be isolated for two to three weeks and recover normally on their own,” Dr Ladhani said.

COVID-19 A healthcare worker collects the swab sample for the Covid-19 test. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

Is community distribution possible?

Although monkeypox is also spread by to cough, according to Dr Ladhani, the droplets are very large compared to Covid-19 where they are very small and only spread over a few feet. “So these particles don’t travel very far. So, for a person to spread it, there must be prolonged contact. However, it has nothing to do with Covid-19 where a short contact or a small duration of contact can also spread it. It is therefore highly unlikely that people with monkey pox pass it on to a large number of people, who will be able to pass it on more,” he explained.

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