Monkeypox outbreak: What you need to know about the disease

Monkeypox outbreak: What you need to know about the disease

What is happening

Monkeypox is already endemic in some countries. Now, cases are popping up in places that usually don’t report the disease.

why does it matter

It’s not a new disease to the United States, but monkeypox outbreaks in more countries pose a public health threat.

What does that mean to you

Anyone who has been in very close physical contact with someone who has an active case of monkeypox can contract the disease.

The World Health Organization considers monkeypox to be a “moderate” public health risk with more cases being reported in countries that normally underreport the disease. In a briefing on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said more than 550 cases have been reported in at least 30 countries where monkeypox is not actually endemic.

“Investigations are ongoing, but the sudden appearance of monkeypox in several countries at the same time suggests that there may have been an undetected transmission for some time,” Tedros said.

In the United States, there are at least 19 cases of monkeypox in 10 states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United States confirmed its first case of monkeypox in mid-May, joining the list of other countries that do not usually report cases of the disease (in other words, in countries where monkeypox is not endemic).

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the orthopoxvirus, and the virus that causes it belongs to the same family of viruses that cause smallpox and cowpox. Monkeypox is an endemic disease in West and Central Africa. Reports of him are rare in the United States but unheard of. (Two cases were reported last year, and 47 in 2003 in an outbreak associated with pet prairie dogs.)

But health officials are monitoring new clusters of monkeypox cases in countries that typically don’t report the disease, including several European countries, Canada and Australia, because this indicates community spread.

“With the number of cases diagnosed in other countries, it was only a matter of time before a case emerged in the United States,” said Dr. Amish Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Health Security Center.

Adalja said scientists are trying to “epidemiologically” to explain why small outbreaks appear differently from other outbreaks that have occurred outside Africa, where most cases have been concentrated.

“I think it’s something to watch and see how widespread it is, but there is no reason to worry or panic about any of this,” Adalja said. He added that monkeypox is not new, and we already have some tools to stop its spread, including smallpox vaccines.

Here’s what we know.

monkey face

Monkeypox got its name because it was first discovered in monkeys kept for research.

Future Publishing / Getty Images

What is monkeypox? How severe is it?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, which means that it is transmitted from animals to humans. It is caused by the orthopoxvirus, which also causes smallpox, although smallpox is considered clinically more serious than monkeypox.

There are two “clade” of monkeypox virus, according to the World Health Organization, including the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade. The West African strain, which was identified in the last cases, according to the May 26 presentation by the World Health Organization, has a mortality rate of less than 1%. The death rate in the Congo Basin or Central African region is up to 10% higher, according to the World Health Organization.

Monkeypox was first discovered in the 1950s in colonies of monkeys under investigation, according to the CDC, but it has also been found in squirrels, mice, and other animals. The first human case of infection was discovered in 1970.

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through contact with infectious sores, crusts, or body fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it can also spread through prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets or by touching contaminated clothing or bedding. .

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Tedros said most cases in the latest outbreak were reported in men who had sex with men, and they showed up at sexual health clinics with symptoms. Close contact between you and your sexual partner may expose you to monkeypox, and the current outbreak is linked to social networking or sexual activity within some communities.

Dr. Hans Henry B. , noting that those who sought health care services early should commend them.

But anyone can get monkeypox. Close “close” contact is a key element in the transmission of monkeypox.

“It’s not a situation where if you pass someone in a grocery store, they are at risk of getting monkeypox,” Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of Pathogenesis and Pathology, said at the May briefing. With the Center for Disease Control.

Since many of the recent cases of monkeypox in Europe have resulted in lesions in the genital area and are similar to symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, you should ask to be evaluated if you have an unexplained rash in the genital area, Dr. John Brooks said, An epidemiologist in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, at a May CDC briefing.

Monkeypox vs. Smallpox: How common are they?

Symptoms of monkeypox in humans are similar to (but milder than) smallpox, which was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980.

Monkeypox infection usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, severe headache, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Within one to three days of developing a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a rash usually develops (historically, it began on the face before it spread, but this is not always the case). Rash or monkeypox lesions can be flat or raised and filled with a clear or yellowish fluid and will eventually dry and fall off.

The illness usually lasts for two to four weeks. The incubation period ranges from five to 21 days, per the CDC.

Importantly, Adalja said, “Monkeypox is not contagious during the incubation period, so it doesn’t have this ability to spread the way some viruses like influenza or SARS-CoV-2 can.”

Pus-filled monkeypox lesions

Monkeypox lesions develop through a series of stages before scabies, according to the CDC. The monkeypox rash traditionally begins on the face before spreading to other areas of the body, and the lesions can appear all over the body or in the genital area alone, according to a health warning from the CDC.

Getty Images

Is there a vaccine against monkeypox?

yes. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved JYNNEOS for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox. Because monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, smallpox vaccines are also effective against monkeypox. In addition to JYNNEOS, the United States has another smallpox vaccine in stock, the ACAM2000, a vaccine likely to be used only in emergencies or with people at risk of monkeypox.

According to the World Health Organization, smallpox vaccination has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

But smallpox vaccines have not been given to the general public since the early 1970s in the United States. Because of this, any indirect or “protective” immunity from smallpox vaccines will be limited to the elderly, the World Health Organization said.

In the United Kingdom, vaccines have been given to high-risk contacts of people with monkeypox. This type of targeted vaccination is what Adalja calls “circular vaccination,” in which health officials isolate an infected person and vaccinate their contacts to stop the spread. He said antiviral drugs that work against smallpox would also have an effect on monkeypox.

The vaccine is for use in people who have been exposed but do not yet have symptoms of the disease, said Dr. Daniel Pastola, chair of the division of neuroinfectious diseases and professor of neurology, medicine and epidemiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Monkeypox, because the incubation period of the disease is very long.

“Basically what you do is stimulate the immune system with the vaccine, and make the immune system recognize the virus before the virus has a chance to multiply,” Pastola said.

While health care professionals and laboratories who work directly with monkeypox are advised to receive smallpox vaccines (and even boosters), original smallpox vaccines are not available to the general public.

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Monkeypox Explained: What You Need to Know


The Big Picture

It’s helpful to be aware of monkeypox symptoms, especially if more cases emerge in the United States, according to Stolla, but there’s no reason to panic.

“This shows the need for public health,” Pastola said. “As we’ve seen with COVID, it’s very important to have a strong public health system, and to support our public health system.”

It also draws attention to the wide variety of viruses we live with. All zoonotic diseases (which include COVID-19) She has the ability to be serious, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on her, he said.

“I think this shows that there are a lot of potential threats from zoonoses – these are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans,” Pastola said. This represents the need for public health monitoring, he said, “but it also really shows that we have to be careful and thoughtful in our interactions with both wild animals and domestic animals.”

It’s also an evolving situation, he said, so the recommendations made by public health officials will change as information changes — and the same is true for all diseases and new science.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

2022-06-02 18:50:00

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