Inside Health

Monkeypox is not a global emergency for now, says WHO

Publish: 10:21 AM, 26 Jun, 2022


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided not to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. This may change in the future.

However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "deeply concerned" about the evolving threat of monkeypox, which he said had reached more than 50 countries.

There have been more than 4,100 confirmed cases globally, including at least 13 in Australia.

The WHO also acknowledged there were many unknowns about the outbreak.

Here are three things we know about monkeypox and three things we want to find out.

1. Monkeypox is caused by a virus

Monkeypox is a large DNA virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus family. Unlike the related smallpox virus, variola, which only affected humans, monkeypox virus is found in rodents and other animals in parts of Africa.

We know of two clades (virus groupings), and it is the less severe of the two currently circulating outside Africa.

Orthopoxviruses are stable viruses that do not mutate much. Multiple mutations, however, have been described in the virus causing the current outbreak.

In the United States, at least two separate strains have been circulating, suggesting multiple introductions into the country.

2. You can be infected for more than a week and not know

It takes an average 8.5 days from infection to showing symptoms, such as enlarged lymph nodes, fever and a rash, which usually looks like fluid-filled blisters that erupt. People are infectious while they have the rash, and are usually infectious for about two weeks.

Children are most severely affected and have a higher risk of dying from the disease. Historically, in the endemic countries of Africa, almost all deaths have been in children.

The European epidemic is mostly in adult males, so this, together with better access to care, may explain the low rate of deaths in these countries.

3. We have vaccines and treatments

Vaccines work. Past vaccination against smallpox provides 85% protection against monkeypox. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, so most mass vaccination programs ceased in the 1970s.

Australia never had mass smallpox vaccination. However, an estimated 10% of Australians have been vaccinated in the past, mostly migrants.

Vaccines protect for many years but immunity wanes. So declining population-level protection is likely responsible for the resurgence of monkeypox seen since 2017 in Nigeria, one of seven endemic hot spots in Africa.

Mass vaccination is not recommended. But vaccines can be given to contacts of confirmed cases (known as post-exposure prophylaxis) and people at high risk of contracting the virus, such as some lab or health workers (pre-exposure prophylaxis).

There are also treatments, such as vaccinia immune globulin and antivirals. These were developed against smallpox.

1. How much do these new mutations matter?

The virus causing the current outbreak has several mutations compared with versions of the virus circulating in Africa. However, we don't know if these mutations affect clinical disease and how the virus spreads.

The monkeypox virus has a very large genome, so is more complex to study than smaller RNA viruses, such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid).

Experts wonder if the mutations have made it more contagious or changed the clinical pattern to be more like a sexually transmitted infection. A study from Portugal shows the mutations likely make the virus more transmissible.

2. How is it spread? Is that changing?

Monkeypox has not been described as a sexually transmitted infection in the past. However, the current transmission pattern is unusual. There seems to be a very short incubation period (of 24 hours) following sexual contact in some, but not all, cases.

It is a respiratory virus, so aerosol transmission is possible. But historically most transmission has been from animal to human. When there was transmission between humans, this usually involved close contacts.

The rapid growth of the epidemic in non-endemic countries in 2022, however, has been all due to spread between humans. There may be many more cases than officially reported.

We do not know why the pattern has changed, whether it is sexually transmitted or simply transmitted due to intimate contact in specific and globally connected social networks, or whether the virus has become more contagious.

The virus is found in the skin rash, mouth and semen, but this does not prove it is sexually transmitted.

3. How far will it spread? Does Covid make a difference?

Will this spread more widely in the community? Does the Covid pandemic increase the risk? Possibly, yes.

We must also not drop the ball on surveillance in the wider community or stigmatise the LGBTQI community.

Due to waning immunity from the smallpox vaccine globally and the spread of monkeypox to many countries already, we may see the epidemic spreading more widely.

If it does so and starts infecting large numbers of children, we could see more deaths because children get more severe infection.

So we should monitor globally for clusters of fever and rash, and misdiagnosis as chickenpox, hand foot and mouth disease, herpes simplex or other diseases with a rash.

Another factor is Covid. As people recover from Covid, their immune system is impaired. So people who have had Covid may be more susceptible to other infections.

We see the same with measles infection. This weakens the immune system and increases the risk of other infections for two to three years afterwards.

If the epidemic becomes established in countries outside the endemic areas, it may infect animals and create new endemic zones in the world.

It is important we do everything possible to stop this epidemic.

- Reuters

Monkeypox   WHO  


Inside Health

635 more hospitalized with Dengue, 1 die

Publish: 04:38 PM, 01 Oct, 2022


Another dengue patient died in the last 24 hours in the country. Besides, 635 patients were hospitalised with the viral fever as cases keep rising, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). So far this year, the number of dengue deaths has reached 56.

The latest death was reported from Barishal division raising the death toll in the division to 5.

The dengue death toll in Dhaka division remained unchanged at 27 and in Chattogram division at 24.

Of the new patients,518 were admitted to different hospitals in Dhaka and 117 outside it, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

A total of 2,158 dengue patients, including 1,658 in the capital, are now receiving treatment at hospitals across the country.

On June 21, the DGHS reported the first death of the season from the viral disease.

So far, the directorate has recorded 16,727 dengue cases and 14,513 recoveries this year.


Inside Health

Covid 19: 5 death, 614 new cases in 24 hours

Publish: 04:46 PM, 20 Sep, 2022


Bangladesh reported five deaths and 614 cases from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours till 8am Tuesday. 

The positivity rate was recorded at 12.73% during the same period as 4,831 samples were tested across the country. 

Also, 283 Covid patients recovered in the last 24 hours taking the recovery to 97.15%.

So far 29,345 people have died and 2,018,829 tested positive for the virus in Bangladesh since 2020.

covid 19   coronavirus   Bangladesh  


Inside Health

Private medical facilities ordered to display license info

Publish: 04:48 PM, 02 Sep, 2022


The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has ordered all privately-run medical facilities across the country to mention their license details on their signboards amid a crackdown on unregistered institutions.

In an order issued on Thursday, the health directorate warned that punitive measures will be taken against those who fail to comply with the directive, reports UNB.

“All private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and blood banks must mention the license number along with its date of expiry on their signboards. If necessary, they should display it with a QR code. Otherwise, they will face legal consequences.”

The move aims to ensure proper services for patients at medical facilities and bring transparency to the healthcare sector, according to DGHS Director Md Belal Hossain.

“On many occasions, the DGHS has found hospitals or clinics operating without authorization. Through this process, we can easily identify the facilities that are unlicensed. If they have a registration number, they must display it. A number of legal provisions apply here. Initially, they will be warned. If they still fail to register, we’ll shut [the hospital or clinic] down.”

The health directorate launched a drive against the unregistered private medical facilities on Aug 29. As many as 700 institutions across Bangladesh have been closed for failing to meet registration requirements, while the authorities have also collected fines worth Tk 1.1 million until Aug 31.

DGHS   Medical Facilities   Private Medicals   License  


Inside Health

32 crore 31 lakh corona vaccinations arrived in the country: Health Minister

Publish: 06:52 PM, 29 Aug, 2022


Health Minister Zahid Malek said that so far more than 32 crore 31 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine have been imported and booster doses have been given to more than 4 crore people in the country.

The Health Minister gave this information in a written reply to Ali Azam, Awami League Member of Parliament for Bhola-2 Constituency, on Monday (August 29) in the National Parliament session. Speaker Dr. Shireen Sharmin Chowdhury presided over the session.

Health Minister Zahid Malek said that 32 crore 31 lakh 9 thousand 500 doses of vaccine have been imported till August 22 of this year to prevent coronavirus in the country.

He said that after the start of vaccination program in the country till now (22 August 2022) 12 crore 98 lakh 60 thousand 578 people received the first dose of vaccine, 12 crore 10 lakh 67 thousand 740 people were given the second dose and 4 crore 27 lakh 69 thousand 777 people were given the third (booster) dose of the vaccine.

On January 27, 2021, the corona virus vaccination program started across the country by vaccinating a nurse at Kurmitola General Hospital in the capital. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the program virtually from Ganabhaban that day. 


Inside Health

Children of 12 city corporations will be vaccinated in the first phase

Publish: 01:47 PM, 10 Aug, 2022


Vaccination program for 5-11-year-old children will be started from August 25 to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the country. In the first phase, vaccination program will be conducted in 12 city corporations of the country. However, tomorrow (August 11) the vaccination program for children will be held on an experimental basis.

On Wednesday (August 10), Director General of the Department of Health Professor Dr. Abul Basar Md Khurshid Alam confirmed this information to the journalists.

He said, from tomorrow (August 11) we are starting vaccination program for children on an experimental basis. The program will officially start at 11 am at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. After that, from August 25, the vaccination program for children will start in full swing across the country.

He also said that this vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 years will be held in 12 city corporation areas across the country. The first round of vaccination will last for a total of 12 days from 25 August to 7 September. Then the second round (second dose program) will take place two months after the first round.

The director general also said that we have sufficient quantities of Pfizer's specially prepared vaccines for children. Our vaccination workers are also ready all over the country.

When asked whether this activity will be carried out only in the city corporation, he told the reporters that initially we have planned to start in the city corporation area. However, it will gradually start at district-upazila level across the country.