Monkeypox and insurance - everything you need to know!

Is Monkeypox covered in your health and travel insurance? Some things you'd need to know!

What is Monkeypox? 

First found in lab monkeys, Monkeypox is an infection caused by the Monkeypox virus. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can transmit from animals to humans. 

According to the World Health Organization, “the incubation period of Monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.” Since early May, 2022, several cases of Monkeypox have been reported by WHO across 12 countries.

How did Monkeypox get to humans?

Because it is an infectious disease, the monkeypox can transfer from physical contact between animals and humans. It can be transmitted to humans through bites from animals, aerosols, or direct contact with lesions, blood or fluids from the infected.

Symptoms

It generally takes about 1-3 weeks of contacting the virus to actually notice the symptoms. The most common one is rashes which scabs eventually. After a couple of days when an individual has a fever, rashes start to show up on the face, hands and legs. At the onset of Monkeypox, a flat rash starts to grow, which takes the shape of a bump on the skin filled with clear liquid. This then converts to a bump with yellowish fluid which scabs and falls off. 

Some more general symptoms include fever, headaches, dry cough, sore muscles, chills, tiredness, fatigue and swollen lymph in serious cases. Any individual who contacts the virus can spread it from up to 21 days after first developing a rash. Until the scab is over, the infected person remains contagious.

Prevention

To prevent catching the virus, you can - 

  • Stay away from sick animals and avoid touching or petting them. 
  • Maintain adequate distance between sick animals and yourself. 
  • Sanitize yourself if and when you come into contact with an affected animal or human. 
  • Use protective equipment like masks, gloves, etc, if you have to take care of an infected animal or human. 

What to do if infected?

If you think you are infected by Monkeypox virus or came in contact with an infected person, immediately call your doctor. A few things you should do for the first 21 days are - 

  • Keep a regular check on your temperature.
  • Self-isolation should be done at the earliest.
  • Conduct tests to know of any underlying health condition because of Monkeypox. 

Monkeypox treatment 

Until now there is no specific treatment available for Monkeypox. But your doctor will most likely start a fluid diet with some medications, based on the severity of the infection. The smallpox vaccine is said to be around 80% effective for the treatment of Monkeypox virus. However, it might come with some minor reactions like itching, redness, or mild fever. 

Monkeypox and travel insurance

  1. Infectious diseases are covered in travel insurance
  2. Emergency evacuation - If you are in a foreign country and have to be sent back to India because of Monkeypox, the expenses are covered by travel insurance.
  3. Against local advisories - If the Indian government advises you not to travel to a certain country and if you do, then the insurer may not cover.
  4. In travel insurance, if you get hospitalized in a foreign country, the hospitalization will be covered
  5. If you travel back to India and get treated, then this hospitalization will be covered by general insurance and not travel insurance.

Monkeypox and general insurance

  1. Infectious diseases are covered in general insurance
  2. Hospitalization and treatment expenses are covered
  3. Asymptomatic and home quarantine may not be covered. However, this is subject to your insurer.

When it comes to insurance, it is best to read your policy underwriting and ask your insurer specifically about Monkeypox coverage. That being said, today it’s become absolutely essential to secure your health with a comprehensive insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions on Monkeypox

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How did the current outbreak of Monkeypox start?

Scientists and researchers have done viral genome testing and concluded that the new strain of Monkeypox originated from Western Africa. It may have traveled with a person who came in contact with an infected animal or human.
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Is the Monkeypox strain deadly?

No, the Monkeypox strain is less lethal. Although there are 1 in 10 deaths in Africa, it is not deadly as of yet. It has a 1% death rate in rural populations.
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Is the spread in magnitude of Monkeypox the same as coronavirus?

No, Monkeypox is similar to smallpox and not coronavirus. Coronavirus spreads much more quickly than Monkeypox.
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How does Monkeypox spread in humans?

It is noted that Monkeypox can spread easily through close contact between humans, exchange of bodily fluids and respiratory secretions. The virus can also spread by indulging in sexual activity.
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