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Thursday Thunder: Toxic Smog in India + Monkeypox Mutations Identified

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India's door

Our weekly column has kept you updated on the progress of the COVID pandemic since its earliest stages. But besides advising you on precautionary measures to stay healthy and sharing travel information, we also monitored the progress of other diseases and conditions.

Today, we will address something that is not strictly a disease but could still affect your health: the high levels of air pollution in India. Then, we’ll take a look at the latest updates regarding Monkeypox’s findings.

Ready? Let’s go!

Polluted Air in India: A Growing Issue

If you were planning a trip to India’s capital you should know that New Delhi’s air quality exceeded the “severe” threshold for the third consecutive day on Friday. According to the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences data, it reached 445 grams/m3.

It’s fair to mention that New Delhi’s last figure is 10 times higher than the World Health Organization air quality guidelines, which set a target of 45 for a 24-hour average.

Restricting Measures

On Friday, Delhi authorities ordered the closure of:

  • Schools
  • Factories
  • Construction sites

Additionally, they banned diesel trucks from bringing non-essential goods into the capital. And half of the city’s civil servants were encouraged to work from home due to smog problems.

The WHO reports that air pollution kills millions of people each year and is the world’s greatest environmental threat. In fact, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality company, New Delhi was the most polluted capital city in 2021.

What’s more, air pollution in India was the leading cause of death in the country in 2019.

Filthy Air Causes

But, why is India so polluted? People in India have been debating which region is to blame for the current situation since the reasons are unclear.

Even though crop residue burning in the northern cities is one of the main causes, no farm reforms, crop rotation incentives, nor technology assistance have been yet announced.

Monkeypox Mutation: “The Virus is Smarter and Stronger”, Study Shows

In the last months, Monkeypox has infected more than 77,000 people in more than 100 countries. Recently, Indian-American scientists found that Monkeypox virus mutations allowed it to grow stronger and evade antiviral drugs and even vaccines.

In an attempt to control the recent Monkeypox outbreak, drugs that were originally designed to treat HIV and herpes, were approved as an emergency measure. However, they have not been effective in treating the virus.

The results of the study, published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, are critical. The hope is that by identifying the specific mutations of the virus, we can develop a new Monkeypox vaccine or antiviral drugs, or even modify those that are already available.

How to Prevent Monkeypox

If you’re planning a trip to a hot spot for Monkepox consider:

  • Avoiding skin-to-skin contact with anyone with Monkeypox symptoms
  • Thoroughly cleaning surfaces touched by infected individuals
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Washing your hands frequently

Key Takeaways

If air quality is a top priority in your travel plans, maybe India is not the best destination for you. In addition, as research about Monkeypox advances, we’ll be on the lookout for any new information.

There is one more thing worth saying: Even though other health concerns around the world might be getting more attention right now, the pandemic is still ongoing. Continue to take care of yourself before and during your trip. And, most importantly, get tested for COVID before you leave for your next destination.

No matter where you are, or what type of test you need, find COVID testing locations near you with our international directory.

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