Monkeypox cannot be the new COVID
At a public hearing on Monday, Dr. Rosamund Lewis from the World Health Organization ( WHO) said she did not expect hundreds of cases to be another pandemic.
It is important to emphasize that most cases reported in many countries around the world involve gays, bisexuals or men having sex with men, so that researchers can further investigate the problem and for those at risk of becoming amplified. "It's very important to describe it because it shows an increase in the mode of transmission that was previously less known," said Lewis, WHO's technical leader in smallpox.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, it is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The virus belongs to a group of viruses that also includes smallpox virus. Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, when there were two epidemics of smallpox-like disease in monkey research colonies, hence the name "monkeypox."
The first case of monkeypox in humans was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since then, monkeypox has been reported by people in many other Central and West African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.
Warning signs of monkeypox outbreak
Dr. Lewis warns that everyone is at potential risk for the disease, regardless of their sexual orientation. Other experts point out that it may be a coincidence that gay and bisexual men become infected for the first time, but that if it is not prevented, it can easily spread to other groups. To date, the WHO reports that 23 countries that have never had smallpox have now reported more than 250 cases. He also warned that among the current cases, there is a higher proportion of people with small lesions that are more concentrated in the genital area and sometimes almost invisible. "You may have these lesions for two to four weeks (and) others won't see them, but you can still be contagious," he said.
WHO's chief adviser said last week that epidemics in Europe, the United States, Israel, Australia and beyond were likely to be linked to sex in two recent raves in Spain and Belgium. This represents a significant departure from the typical pattern of disease spread in Central and West Africa, where humans are mainly infected with animals such as wild vermin and primates, and epidemics do not cross borders. Researchers have not yet identified whether the smallpox outbreak in rich countries can be traced back to Africa, but the disease continues to afflict people on the continent. On Monday, Nigerian authorities confirmed the first deaths from monkeypox this year, along with six other cases.
The WHO states that an average of thousands of cases are reported from Nigeria and Congo each year. Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, colds and fatigue. People with worse illnesses may have rashes and wounds on their face and hands that may spread to other parts of the body. No deaths have been reported in the current epidemic outside Africa. Lewis of the WHO also says that although previous cases of monkeypox in Central and West Africa are relatively satisfactory, it is unclear whether people can spread monkeys without symptoms or whether the disease can spread through the air. such as measles or COVID-19.