Monkeypox: Gained knowledge by completing the WHO course

As a senior citizen in recent years, I am coming across new diseases and one such disease recently I have come to know is monkeypox. Taking an interest to know about the disease I have completed recently a certificate course on monkeypox titled,    “Monkeypox: Introductory course for African outbreak contexts” under World Health Organisation (WHO). Based on my learning and information collected from the website (www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox) I am presenting a few facts about monkeypox so that readers can get an idea in this regard. That is the article is based on secondary sources.

  Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an orthopoxvirus that causes human monkeypox (MPX), a viral disease with symptoms in humans similar to smallpox, including fever and rash. Although in the world smallpox was eradicated in 1980, monkeypox emerged as the most significant orthodox virus disease in humans. It has been observed that cases that occur sporadically are from rural areas of Central and West African countries, close to tropical rainforests, and has been increasingly appearing in urban areas. In regions, there is frequent human contact with infected animals. Humans can also acquire the disease through direct contact with cases of monkeypox but there is no evidence to date that person-to-person transmission alone can sustain a monkeypox outbreak in the human population. It is reported that monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio is between 3 and 6 percent.   Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. Various animal species have been identified as susceptible to the monkeypox virus. This includes rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, dormice, non-human primates, and other species. Uncertainty remains on the natural history of the monkeypox virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir(s) and how virus circulation is maintained in nature. It is pertinent to mention that human monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 9-month-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. Since then, most cases have been reported from rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and human cases have increasingly been reported from across central and West Africa. Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. In 2003, the first monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa was in the United States of America and was linked to contact with infected pet prairie dogs. These pets had been housed with Gambian pouched rats and dormice that had been imported into the country from Ghana. This outbreak led to over 70 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. Monkeypox has also been reported in travelers from Nigeria to Israel in September 2018, to the United Kingdom in September 2018, December 2019, May 2021, and May 2022, to Singapore in May 2019, and to the United States of America in July and November 2021. In May 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox were identified in several non-endemic countries. Studies are currently underway to further understand the epidemiology, sources of infection, and transmission patterns. 
It is heartening to mention that vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme also provided protection against monkeypox.  It may be mentioned here that vaccination against smallpox was demonstrated through several observational studies to be about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox. 

‘Better call Saul’ Review

Breaking Bad is one of the best Television Shows ever aired. So, many people including me were sceptical about a spin-off/prequel of such a great show. And boy, were we absolutely insane to question it. Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, and every other writer of the show have made us see, that a spin-off/prequel of a show can be great or dare I say, even better.

For me, Season 5 of BCS [& season finale hasn’t even aired till now] took it beyond its predecessor. It was always a great drama and a perfectly crafted character study, but now that it has added the Breaking Bad intensity to it, it might be the best Television Show or at least amongst the best Television Shows. I know Better Call Saul benefits a lot from the brilliant running of Breaking Bad, and we all love to see all those characters, places & things (hector’s bell) pop up here, but the fact remains that BCS is entirely a show of its own with some perfectly added BB callbacks.

The characters development in this show is incomprehensible. Also, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, is my favorite female character put to T.V. The dynamic between her and Saul (or Jimmy) is so so so good, I just can’t appreciate the writing enough. With all that amazing cinematic techniques & use of country music, like in BB, this is a masterclass in cinema. The split screen trick, time lapse shots, character zooms, and so much more, this is creativity at its very best.

If you watch T.V. Shows, you must have watched Breaking Bad, and so I implore you to see this. You’ll not be disappointed. There’s not a single flaw I can find in this gem. On a technical level, this is at par with Breaking Bad. And I don’t think I need to tell you about acting. Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mckean, Giancarlo Esposito, Rhea Seehorn, its like Olympics of Olympic winners. But even after all these great stuff, its the writing that makes it a masterpiece of a show. I mean even though you know what’s gonna happen to all these characters (not everyone), it still manages to grip you in thinking what’ll happen next. That is great writing.

At the moment, Better Call Saul is a very underrated show, but I know its gonna end up right next to its brother in the long run.