Home / News / Is monkeypox virus similar to Covid-19?

Monkeypox virus, which has been hopscotching across the world, has become a cause of concern among the authorities as the cases continue to rise. So far, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been detected in over 60 countries. As the monkeypox cases continue to mount, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it monkeypox virus a global health emergency -- the highest alarm it can sound. The last time WHO sounded this alert was back in January 2020, when it declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

But is monkeypox a threat as grave as Covid-19? While some symptoms of monkeypox may be similar to that of the Covid-19 virus, the previous is a way less serious threat than the latter. While the monkeypox virus can also produce flu-like symptoms, it does not spread from human to human very efficiently.


Faheem Younos, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland, said, "Monkeypox will NOT turn into a Covid-like pandemic." Because, he said, its "strain isn't deadly", "virus isn't airborne", "outbreak isn't global", "outbreak is affecting MSM", "disease has a treatment+vaccine", and "is not Covid".

He also said that the risk of lockdowns due to rising monkeypox cases is zero per cent.

The doctor also said that "If Covid is like a snake bite, monkeypox is like bed bugs. Important and concerning, but not the same. Don't fall for fear-mongering."


Dr Faheem Younus also listed out how the monkeypox virus "will not" become a Covid-like pandemic. In a tweet, he said that the monkeypox virus "is NOT novel", "is typically not deadly", "is less contagious than Covid", "has been around for five decades", and "is prevented by smallpox vaccine".

He also said that "Monkeypox is harder to transmit. Requires close skin contact with lesions, and fluid. Soiled surfaces and beddings are also a risk. RARELY respiratory droplets can transmit."

Let's check out the difference between the two virus and their effects on humans.


While coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, monkeypox belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, which also includes the variola virus, also known as the smallpox virus.


Some of the most common symptoms of Covid-19, according to the WHO, are:




-loss of taste or smell

Less common symptoms:

-sore throat


-aches and pains


-a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

-red or irritated eyes

Serious symptoms:

-difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

-loss of speech or mobility, or confusion

-chest pain

Some of the most common symptoms of the monkeypox virus are:



-muscle aches

-back pain

-low energy

-swollen lymph nodes

A few days after these symptoms are visible, development of a rash which can last for two to three weeks starts to appear on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, groin, and genital and/or anal regions of the body.

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.


IMPORTANT: Monkeypox doesn't spread through the air, like Covid-19.

The Covid-19 virus can spread from an infected person's mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe.

The WHO says monkeypox spreads from person to person through close contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash, including through face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, or mouth-to-skin contact, including sexual contact.

Ulcers, lesions, or sores in the mouth can be infectious in monkeypox.

IMPORTANT: The smallpox vaccine is effective against the monkeypox virus.


India has so far registered four cases of the monkeypox virus. While three cases of monkeypox had earlier been reported from Kerala, one was recently detected in Delhi.

The Central government on Sunday held a high-level meeting after a 34-year-old man tested positive for the monkeypox virus in Delhi.

The man who has tested positive for the virus has no history of foreign travel. He had attended a stag party in Manali in Himachal Pradesh recently.



Chanchal is a chief content producer at LiveMint. Chanchal is obsessed with Google incognito. She likes writing, politics, Oxford comma, Eddie Vedder, and a good keyboard. Follow her @chanchaltracks. If you have a story idea, send her a mail at chanchal@htdigital.in
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