Key Differences According to Doctors

Monkeypox vs Chickenpox: Key Differences According to Doctors

In the rainy season, cases of chickenpox largely increase.

New Delhi:

Rashes and fever, the common symptoms in both monkeypox and chickenpox, have caused confusion in people, although doctors have emphasized that there is a difference in the way the symptoms of both viral diseases manifest in patients.

They also advised to see a doctor to clear up any doubts.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted from animals to humans) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is less severe clinically.

In the rainy season, people are more prone to viral infections, and chickenpox cases are largely seen during this time, along with other infections that also show symptoms such as rashes and nausea, said Dr. Ramanjit Singh, Visiting Consultant, Dermatology, Medanta Hospital.

“As a result of this situation, some patients get confused and misinterpret chickenpox with monkeypox. The patient can determine whether they have monkeypox or not by understanding the sequence and onset of symptoms,” said Dr. Ramanjit Singh.

Explaining further, he said monkeypox usually starts with fever, malaise, headache, sometimes sore throat and cough, and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) and all of these symptoms appear four days prior to skin lesions, rashes and other problems that primarily start with the hand and eyes. and spread all over the body.

Other experts agree and say that there are other symptoms in the case of monkeypox in addition to skin damage, but it is always better to see a doctor to clear up any doubts.

In a few recently reported cases, two suspected cases of monkeypox turned out to be chickenpox.

A suspected case of monkeypox, admitted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) Hospital in Delhi last week with fever and lesions, tested negative for the infection but was diagnosed with chickenpox. Similarly, an Ethiopian citizen, who had gone to Bengaluru, was tested for monekypox after showing symptoms, but his report confirmed he had chickenpox.

India has so far reported four cases of monkeypox – three from Kerala and one from Delhi. dr. Satish Koul, Director of Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute said: “In monkeypox, the lesions are larger than in chickenpox. In monkeypox, the lesions can be seen on palms and soles. In chickenpox, lesions are self-limiting after seven to eight days, but not so in monkeypox. The lesions are vesicular and itchy in chickenpox. In monkeypox, the lesions are broad vesicles and non-itchy.” dr. Satish Koul also said that the duration of a fever is longer in monkey pox and such a patient has enlarged lymph nodes.

dr. SCL Gupta, medical director of Batra Hospital, elaborated on the virus that causes chickenpox, saying that chickenpox is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus that is not that serious, but also causes skin rashes. “This is the season of chickenpox. Usually during the monsoon there is moisture, temperature rise, waterlogging, formation of moisture and wet clothes, all this leads to growth of the virus.

“There is also a religious aspect to the disease. People treat it like a ‘goddess’ and so such patients are not treated with drugs. They are kept isolated and given time to heal,” he said.

Speaking of monkey pox, Dr. SCL Gupta explained that such a virus needs an animal host but is self-limiting with sore throat, fever and normal virus symptoms.

“The main sign of this virus is the rash on the body with fluids in it. This leads to a viral infection that weakens the body’s resistance. But due to the complication, problems arise. In case a bacterial infection occurs and pus and blisters leads to further complications in the body.” At the moment, monkeypox is in the juvenile stage. We don’t have good treatment. We simply follow the method of isolation and treat the suspected patient according to their symptoms. If there is a throat infection, we use the generic medicines that we usually use. So here it is a case of symptomatic treatment,” he said.

Doctors have also received questions about whether a previous chickenpox infection makes a patient immune to monekypox, to which the answer is emphatically no.

dr. Rajinder Kumar Singal, Senior Director and Head of Department of Internal Medicine, BLK Max Hospital, New Delhi, said that both are caused by different viruses, the mode of transmission is different and a previous infection does not provide any protection against the new one. But those who have received the smallpox vaccination are less likely to contract monkeypox, he claimed.

“The smallpox vaccine was discontinued after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the disease was completely eradicated around 1979-80. People born before 1980 who took a smallpox vaccine are less likely to contract monkeypox. Both smallpox and monkeypox are caused by viruses of the same family,” added Dr. Rajinder Kumar Singhal to it.

Because of this similarity between smallpox and monkeypox, many countries have allowed the giving of ‘smallpox’ vaccines, but in India it is still not allowed. “The virus is in its juvenile stage and doctors are still figuring it out,” added Dr. SCL Gupta to it.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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