Monkey infections have historically only been observed in humans who have a connection to the central and West Africa. But in recent weeks, countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and Canada have reported cases, mostly of young people who have not previously traveled to Africa.
According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 80 confirmed cases in the world and another 50 suspects.
This was announced by the former head of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences, virologist Ovale Tomor Associated Press: “I am surprised by this. Every day I wake up and more countries are infected. ”
Tomor, who sits on several WHO advisory boards, added: “This is not a spread we have seen in West Africa, so maybe something new is happening in the West.”
Typical symptoms of monkey pox are fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue.
So far, no one has died as a result of the epidemic, but WHO estimates the disease is fatal in one in 10 people.
The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended isolating all suspected cases and offering the chickenpox vaccine to high-risk individuals.
According to the WHO, about 3,000 monkey cases are reported in Nigeria each year.
Outbreaks typically occur in rural areas when humans have close contact with infected rats and squirrels, Tomor said, but added that many cases are likely to be missed.
On Friday, the UK Health Insurance Agency (UKHSA) identified eleven more cases of the monkey flower in England. Recent infections have brought the total number of confirmed cases in England from May 6 to 20.
Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA Senior Medical Advisor, said: “We expected further cases to be detected by our active NHS case detection and increased vigilance among healthcare professionals.
“We expect this growth to continue in the coming days and more cases will be revealed to the general public. In addition, we receive notifications of further cases being detected in other global countries.
“We continue to rapidly investigate the source of these infections and raise the awareness of health professionals. We liaise with close contacts identified in cases to provide health information and advice. ”
He said a significant proportion of recent cases in the UK and Europe have been reported in gay and bisexual men and urged them to take special care with symptoms and seek help if they are interested. Spanish and Portuguese health officials also said their cases were in young people who mostly had sex with other men.
Dr Hopkins’s comments come after UK health officials investigated whether the virus was sexually transmitted, but experts emphasized that they did not know whether the disease was spread through sexual contact or other close contact with sex.
Told Tomor AP That, although Nigeria has not seen sexually transmitted infections, viruses that were not initially known to be sexually transmitted, such as Ebola, were later confirmed to have done so after larger epidemics showed different forms of transmission.
He said the same could be true of the monkey flower.
Meanwhile, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced that Berlin was confident the epidemic could be contained.
He said the virus went through the sequence to see if there were any genetic changes that might have made it more infectious.
Elsewhere, Rolf Gustafsson, an infectious disease expert, told the Swedish broadcasterVT That it was a “very difficult” idea to ignite the explosion.
“We will certainly find more cases in Sweden, but I do not think there will be an epidemic in any way,” he said.
“We have never seen anything like this happening in Europe,” said Christian Happ, director of the African Center for Infectious Diseases Genomics.
“We have not seen anything to say that the forms of transmission of monkeys have changed in Africa. So if something different is happening in Europe, then Europe should investigate it.
He also said that stopping the chickenpox vaccination campaign – which also protects against monkeys – after the disease was eradicated in 1980 may have inadvertently encouraged the spread of monkeys.
“Apart from people in West and Central Africa who may have had some immunity to monkey pollen in the past, not having chickenpox vaccination means that no one has any immunity to monkeys,” Hapi said.
His remarks come after South African health officials called for an investigation into the European epidemic to identify the first infected individuals in the monkeys.
Shabir Mahdi, a professor of vaccine at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said: “We really need to understand how it started and why the virus is spreading now.
“Monkey flower epidemics are very controlled and rare in Africa. If that’s changing now, we really need to understand why. ”
Monkeypox: Scientists ‘stunned’ by the spread of the virus in Europe and North America
Source link Monkeypox: Scientists ‘stunned’ by the spread of the virus in Europe and North America