What is the rare monkeypox epidemic in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, and should we be concerned?
Monkeypox epidemic has been reported in the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain. There have been just 36 suspected instances documented throughout the three countries, with eight in England and twenty in Portugal. In the United States, there has also been an instance.
Health specialists, on the other hand, have no idea where the monkeypox virus traveled. There’s also the danger that the virus is spreading unnoticed across the population, maybe via a new channel of transmission.
What is Monkeypox?
Fever, bodily pains, swollen lymph nodes, and finally “pox,” or painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands, and feet, are all symptoms of monkeypox. One kind of monkeypox is particularly dangerous, killing up to 10% of those afflicted. The current English version is softer. It has a very low mortality rate of less than 1%. The average case takes two to four weeks to complete.
Monkeypox is mainly transferred to neighboring countries by animals in West Africa or Central Africa. Because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids like as saliva or pus from lesions, person-to-person transmission is unusual. As a result, the danger to the general public is negligible, according to the UK health authorities.
However, seven of the eight cases in England do not entail recent travel to Africa, suggesting that the patients in those cases contracted the virus in England.
Furthermore, there is evidence that the virus is spreading via a new route: sexual contact.
Some Common FAQs About Monkeypox From Experts
So, how much do we know about monkeypox? And how dangerous is it in comparison to other new viruses?
To discover out, Goats and Soda spoke with two monkeypox experts, Anne Rimoin of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jay Hooper of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Here are some of the questions we posed, as well as some of their startling responses, updated to reflect current events.
Does it emerge from monkeys?
“The name is a little bit of a misnomer,” adds Rimoin. Instead, it should be termed “rodentpox.”
According to the CDC, the name “monkeypox” stems from the first reported occurrences of the illness in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in laboratory colonies of monkeys.
However, monkeys aren’t the most common carriers. The vi rus is more likely to be carried by squirrels, pouched rats, dormice, and other rodents.
What’s the best way to catch it?
Mostly as a result of an animal bite, scrape, or contact with the animal’s body fluid. Coughing, sneezing, or contact with pus from the sores can then spread the infection to other individuals.
The lesions caused by monkeypox are identical to those seen by smallpox.
According to Hooper, it does not spread well among humans.
It has a far lower infection rate than smallpox. In many cases, people do not spread the virus to others.
Until this current epidemic, a person infected with monkeypox was typically infected between zero and one other person. As a result, all prior epidemics (until recently) were short-lived.
Further, she explained that you have primary cases when people contract monkeypox from an animal and propagate the disease for a few generations. The outbreaks are usually self-contained.
According to the World Health Organization’s website, “there is no evidence, to yet, that person-to-person transmission alone may maintain monkeypox illnesses in the human community.”
Scientists are unsure if the latest outbreak’s transmission rate has grown. One reason the current outbreak appears to have expanded throughout the population in three cities might be due to increased transmission.
Is an epidemic ever seen in the United States?
“It was already there!” Hooper explains. “However, it was rapidly brought under control.”
Monkeypox was brought to Illinois with a shipment of animals from Ghana in 2003. Several huge pouched rats and squirrels tested positive for the virus, which then infected prairie dogs marketed as pets in several Midwestern states.
According to the CDC’s website.
The illness was spread by prairie dogs to 47 humans. Everyone got well. No one else was infected with the sickness.
Is monkeypox a “recent” disease?
No, the virus has been infecting people for centuries, if not millennia, according to Rimoin. However, doctors ignored the instances for a long period.
Smallpox and monkeypox are closely related. “Clinically, they are indistinguishable,” Rimoin explains. As a result, physicians have long misdiagnosed monkeypox as smallpox.
The world was on the verge of eliminating smallpox in the 1970s. Cases dropped dramatically. Doctors in Central Africa began to notice another sickness that resembled smallpox but did not spread as easily. Monkeypox was the cause.
Smallpox is linked to numerous other viruses, including cowpox and camelpox. “I’d be more concerned about camelpox than monkeypox,” adds Rimoin, “since it’s closer to smallpox on the genetic tree.”