Monkeypox, toxic foods and hepatitis

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that is on the headlines today.  It is characterized by pox lesions on the skin and is closely related to, but not as deadly as smallpox, which killed about half a million lives in the pandemic of 1870-1875, triggered by the Franco-Prussian War.

Monkeypox was first detected in 1958 and the first human case diagnosed in early 1970s.  Mostly it is transmitted from animals (rodents) to humans by direct contact.  Human-to-human spread is infrequent and probably by droplet.  Signs and symptoms are not specific.  Most likely during the first few days, then 4 to 7 days later, skin spots, with and without pus, appear on the face, trunk, leading to skin ulcers with crust over them; which clear up in 2 to 3 weeks.  Lymph nodes are enlarged.

In Africa, diagnosis is done presumptively with history and physical examination, showing pox lesions. Definitive diagnosis is made by PCR, ELISA, or Western Blot tests that are performed by the US-CDC or state laboratories to rule out smallpox. Vaccination with smallpox vaccine is the immediate treatment.  Antiviral drugs and human immune globulin have been used. The prognosis is good to excellent, most patients recover.  Prevention includes avoidance of contact with infected animals and people.  Smallpox vaccination affords about 85 percent protection. There is yet no specific monkeypox vaccination.

What are toxic foods?

Twenty percent of global deaths are caused by toxic, junk and processed foods; and harmful food ingredients, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington as reported by The Lancet Medical Journal.  It now appears that the toxic food industry is as unhealthy and dangerous as the Big Tobacco.

The study is a compilation of data from every country in the world. It states that diet is the second highest risk factor for early deaths after smoking. The dilemma is the spread of the “western diet,” especially fast food, taking over the old traditional healthier foods in developing countries. Also, it is the widespread use of pesticides and toxic chemicals on vegetables and fruits, unhealthy ingredients in processed foods, (like high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils).  Soft drinks, in any form, are toxic liquid candies, which increase the risk for metabolic syndrome, especially in children.  Besides red meat, which increases the risk for cancer and heart disease, the toxic foods and ingredients listed above are the leading killers of man.

Are food supplements safe?

Since the said industry is not regulated and monitored, these food supplements on the market, even those that claim to be proven and safe, are not guaranteed to be safe or even effective.  As long as one feels healthy and is eating well, there is really no need for food supplement. Children and seniors may need multivitamins and minerals as determined by their physician, but adults in general have all nutrition they need from their normal diet.  It is unfortunate that there is no way to determine the long term side effects and complications from food supplements as this may take decades to show.  This is why it is best to stay away from food supplements —herbals or not — that are being advertised to provide more stamina, endurance, even sexual prowess, or those supposedly can prevent or cure cancer. These are all scams and a waste of your hard-earned money.

What is normal-weight obese people?

This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but normal-weight obese (NWO) is a person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is normal but whose body fat is more than 30 percent of the body weight.  Also called “skinny-fat,” this individual has normal weight but with low muscle mass and high body fat. Extreme dieting, yo-yo weight control, or high cholesterol diet can lead to normal-weight obesity.  So, BMI alone is not a reliable indicator of body composition and health risk.

Italian investigators, in their research comparing women, found that NWO women had greater levels of inflammatory (C-Reactive) proteins than (low fat) normal-weight women, suggesting that fats secrete inflammatory proteins. These particular proteins are a marker for heart disease, like coronary artery disease, which is the cause of heart attack.

Can sweat transmit Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was found in the sweat of 13 percent (or 9) infected athletes, according to a new study on 70 male Olympic wrestlers, which inferred that the HBV could be transmitted by sweating infected athletes to others in contact sports. In 8 of those nine athletes whose blood tested positive for HBV, DNA for Hepatitis B was also found in the sweat.

“Evidence is emerging that the incidence of occult HBV in Olympic wrestling is higher than expected and that transmission of HBV may also occur through sweat,” the researcher concluded in a report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine March 1, 2007.

The authors recommend sports organizations make it “obligatory for all participants involved in contact sports and playing under adult rules to be vaccinated against hepatitis B.”

Is global diabetes worse?

Reports from Washington stated that “rates of diabetes in Canada’s most populous province already zoomed past what was predicted for 2030, which suggests the global epidemic will be far worse than feared.”

In Ontario alone, the researchers found “a 69 percent increase in the rate of diabetes between 1995 and 2005, far beyond the 60 percent global predicted increase for 2030 and above rates projected for Canada by then.”

The World Health Organization has predicted a “39 percent rise in the worldwide prevalence of diabetes between 2000 and 2030, but (the study) indicates that this figure might be a gross underestimation,” the commentary on Lancet said.

Obesity, poor diet and a lack of exercise are seen in Type 2 diabetes. Richer diet, especially a lot of carbohydrate like rice, and too little or no exercise are part of the cause of Type 2 diabetes. Some of the complications of this disease is blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, leg gangrene, and death.

The investigators also found that the prevalence of diabetes zoomed from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 8.8 percent. There are more than 6.2 million diabetics in the Philippines.

This is a pandemic, and not only an epidemic…and happening faster than we thought. Indeed, it pays to exercise more daily and manage our diet properly, if we are to prevent this debilitating and deadly disease.


Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. Email:

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