MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — An alarming global outbreak of monkeypox, a less harmful cousin of the smallpox virus, has reached the United States and Canada. As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases of the disease, and another 28 suspected cases, have been reported in 12 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The World Health Organization said between one and five confirmed cases are currently under investigation in the United States.
Monkeypox was first seen in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and other parts of Europe in early May. On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was monitoring six people in the United States for possible infections. They sat near an infected passenger on a flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom in early May.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are also investigating a confirmed case of monkeypox in a Massachusetts man who recently traveled to Canada, according to CNN. The New York City Department of Health is investigating the possibility of a patient at Bellevue Hospital there.
Despite all these recent infections in areas where the virus is uncommon, and new concerns that the disease may be spread through sexual contact, health experts warn against overreacting. In contrast to newly emerging diseases such as COVID-19, monkeypox is well understood and effective treatments are available.
“No one should panic,” said Ann Rimoen, chair of the division of infectious diseases and public health at UCLA. “Monkeypox is a well-known virus being introduced into a new population.”
The illness begins with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and other flu-like symptoms, followed by a rash on the face that spreads to other areas, including the genitals, hands, and feet.
possibility of sexual transmission
Symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, but much milder, Remoen said.
“It can last for several weeks, and people can feel somewhat sick,” she said. However, effective treatments are available.
Hannah Newman, director of epidemiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, added that monkeypox is primarily transmitted from animals to humans — and less often from person to person because of the need for close contact with bodily fluids.
Anyone who has a rash or unusual lesion and who has risk factors [or had sexual encounters with someone who has] Care must be sought immediately.”
Many new cases have occurred worldwide among gay and bisexual men.
On Monday, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, the Spanish capital’s top health official, said the city had recorded 30 confirmed cases of monkeypox so far. He said authorities are investigating possible links between the recent Gay Pride event in the Canary Islands, which drew about 80,000 people, and cases in a Madrid sauna.
According to Newman, “It appears that there may be a sexual transmission component in the current outbreak, which we have not seen in previous outbreaks.” She noted that gay and bisexual men may be at particular risk during the current outbreak.
However, “I feel like this is a virus that we understand, we have vaccines against, we have treatments against, and it spreads very differently than SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19),” Dr. Jha, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said News letters Sunday.
“It’s not as contagious as Covid. So I’m confident we’ll be able to keep our arms around it,” Jha said. “But we will be tracking that closely and using the tools we have to make sure that we can continue to prevent further spread and take care of infected people.”
Newman said risk factors for past outbreaks include contact with live or dead animals and consumption of bushmeat or wildebeest from wild animals.
Once the virus is transmitted from animal to human, human-to-human transmission of the virus can occur through direct contact with respiratory droplets, body fluids, or skin lesions.
In Africa, 1% to 15% of people infected with monkeypox die from the virus. “Severe illness and [death] higher among children, young adults, and immunocompromised individuals,” Newman said.
The virus was first discovered in 1958 when an outbreak of a smallpox-like disease in monkeys. The first known human case occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it has since been reported among humans in other countries in Central and West Africa, according to the CDC.
Although it does not occur naturally in the United States, this is not the first time that monkeypox has been seen in the country. The 2003 outbreak has been linked to infected prairie dogs that were imported as pets.
There are still many questions about the new outbreak.
“We need to monitor it and understand how it behaves and how it has been introduced to the new population,” said Remoen.
This outbreak appears to be related to the West African strain of monkeypox, which Remoen said is less transmissible and tends to cause milder symptoms than the Central African strain.
“As soon as those details become available, we will know more,” she said.
She added that the outbreak is not entirely surprising. In recent years, cases of the once eradicated smallpox virus have also appeared.
“It is not surprising to see other smallpox viruses occurring in the world as a result,” said Remoen.
Vaccines are already here
Fortunately, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from monkeypox.
In fact, the US government has already placed an order worth $119 million for the vaccine with an option to get more. British health authorities provide smallpox vaccinations to some health care workers and others who may have been exposed to monkeypox.
The good news, Newman said, is that monkeypox outbreaks are rare and usually short-lived.
For example, the 2003 outbreak in the United States was quickly contained through extensive testing, the publication of smallpox vaccine and treatments, and guidance for patients, health care providers, veterinarians, and other animal handlers.
“All 47 people recovered, and none of the 47 cases spread the disease to another person,” she said.
According to the State Department, cases of monkeypox were previously seen only among people with connections to Central and West Africa. News agency. But last week, the United States was among seven countries that reported infections, mostly among young adults who had never traveled to Africa.
France, Germany, Belgium and Australia confirmed their first cases on Friday AP mentioned.
“It stunned me. Every day I wake up and there are more countries infected,” said virologist Oweel Tomori, who sits on several advisory boards to the World Health Organization.
He told AP.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more about monkeypox.
SOURCES: Hannah Newman, MPH, director of infection prevention, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Ann Remoen, Ph.D., MA in Public Health, Professor, Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Global Health and Immigrant Health, University of California, Los Angeles; News agencyMay 20, 2022; CNNMay 20, 2022