SL has the necessary infrastructure to test and diagnose monkeypox – Dr. Jeewandara

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Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara says the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit (AICBU) at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has all the necessary infrastructure to test and diagnose monkeypox which has been detected in several countries.

He added that they have already ordered the necessary reagents which will arrive next week.

As the world continues to tackle the still present coronavirus, global concerns have been raised over the recent increase in monkeypox infections in different parts of the world.

Cases of monkeypox – a rare, little-known disease – are being investigated in European countries including the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.

On Friday (20) the UK confirmed the number of cases had more than doubled, bringing the total to 20. The UK government has bought stocks of smallpox vaccine to guard against monkeypox.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox, although it is much less severe and experts say chances of infection are low.

It occurs mostly in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests and there are two main strains of virus – west African and central African.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles and a general listlessness.

Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The rash, which can be extremely itchy or painful, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. The lesions can cause scarring. The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days.

Monkeypox can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.

It has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.