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Fact-check: Monkeypox is not a skin disease

Published on Tue 07 Jun 2022 at 13:19

A viral disease, monkeypox currently has no clinically proven cure – in allopathy or homeopathy. It is usually a self-limited ailment with symptoms lasting two to four weeks.

By Tej Kumar

As cases of monkeypox continue to be reported in several parts of the world, a YouTube video that claims to have found its cure in alternative medicine has been gaining traction. The video (in Hindi) is by a healthcare practitioner in Pakistan, who claims to have a Diploma in Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery (DHMS). According to him, monkeypox is a kind of skin disease and can be treated with homeopathic medicines, such as Merc Sol and Rhus-tox.

The claims are misleading on several counts. Firstly, there are no specific clinically proven treatments available for monkeypox infection at present; clinical trials are underway. However, the outbreaks can be controlled.

Secondly, the clinical presentation of monkeypox resembles that of smallpox. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness. Studies show that the smallpox vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox.

A zoonotic disease, caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae, monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or material contaminated with the virus. It is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting two to four weeks.

Monkeypox presents symptoms such as fever and rashes on the skin. “Homeopathy can help reduce the symptoms, but claiming that monkeypox can be cured is stretching the facts too far,” says Dr Suresh Somayajula, Homeopathic Physician and Former President of the Indian Institute of Homeopathy of Vizag District, Andhra Pradesh.

Currently, the clinical care for monkeypox entails alleviating symptoms as well as managing and preventing complications. In case you notice any symptoms, isolate yourself at home and contact your local health department. It’s advisable to seek immediate medical care.