The global epidemic of Covid-19 has affected many people, killing hundreds in just a few months and paralyzing the global economy. Each coming wave of Covid-19 increased the damage, while omicron worked oil on the fire. We were just recovering from it but another plague hung over our heads like a sword. Yes, a new virus called Monkeypox is spreading and its epidemic is increasing day by day.
This virus has spread to more than 80 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. After the rapid spread of monkeypox, people are curious and want to know what is monkeypox and how we can protect ourselves from it.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. It is found in wild animals such as rats and primates and is transmitted from them to humans. The virus is found mainly in the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa and it’s usually a mild infection.
The virus belongs to the smallpox virus family, although experts say it is less severe and less likely to infect. This has only happened eight times in the past year, “said Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of pox diseases began to spread in monkey colonies for research, hence the name “monkeypox”. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during an effort to eradicate smallpox.
Since then, it has spread to 11 African countries. The virus spread to the United States as an epidemic in 2003, and patients became infected through close contact with prairie dogs infected small mammals imported into the country from Ghana.
In 2017, the first worst outbreak of Monkey Pox was reported in Nigeria with 500 suspected cases and over 200 confirmed cases with a mortality rate of 3% while 75% of the victims were men between the ages of 21 and 40.
In May 2022, monkeypox outbreaks began simultaneously in EU/EEA states and North America, alerting medical staff, scientists, and virologists.
According to the CDC, more than 31,000 cases have been registered in 82 countries. The highest number of cases have been recorded in the US, which is more than 9000, while 12 people have lost their lives so far.
How severe it is?
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is usually not so severe and most people recover within a few weeks. According to the UK’s National Health Service, The virus does not spread easily among people and the risk to the general public is very low. Many experts are also saying that we are not on the verge of a national epidemic.
Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: “The fact that only one in 50 contacts of the first infected monkeypox patient became infected shows how badly contagious the virus is.
West African strains are less severe with a mortality rate of about 1%, while congo strains are more severe in Africa with deaths up to 10% (even up to 15%), and children are more likely to die.
WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 98 percent of cases are among men who have sex with other men. As long as countries, communities, and individuals take the risks of the virus seriously, the epidemic can be controlled. The WHO has also declared monkeypox a global emergency, which can be spread from person to person through sexual contact, kissing, hugging, and contaminated clothing, towels, and bed sheets.
Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health said that “This is one of the most important epidemics in the history of monkeypox in the Western Hemisphere”
How does it spread?
Monkeypox can be spread through close contact with an infected person. It can also be spread through contact with infected animals such as monkeys, rats, and squirrels, or through contaminated items such as towels, bedding, and clothing. Also, if you touch monkeypox rashes it can spread and affect you.
Monkeypox can enter the body through broken skin, eyes, nose, respiratory tract, or mouth. The virus can be transmitted through direct contact during sexual intercourse, although it has never been reported before. Many of the victims are gay and bisexual teenagers in Europe and most cases have itchy and sore genitals and the surrounding area.
The UK Health Security Agency says a “significant proportion” of recent cases in the UK and Europe have been found among gay and bisexual men, so we are specifically encouraging them to be wary of the symptoms and get help if they’re worried. ”
Staff at sexual health clinics have already received the smallpox vaccine to help protect them against the virus. Because of the unavailability of the Monkey Pox vaccine smallpox vaccines provides some good protection because the two viruses are very similar.
The UK Health Security Agency is pursuing people who are in close contact with patients for advice and monitoring so that they do not become infected and spread.
It is not yet clear why this unusual epidemic is now spreading. One explanation is given that the virus has found itself in the right place at the right time to thrive, while it is also being speculated that The virus has mutated somehow, although there is currently little evidence that it is a new strain.
Jimmy Whitworth, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “I don’t think ordinary people need to be upset right now, but I don’t think we’ve uncovered all of this and we are not in control of this ”
However, Hans Cluj, regional director of the World Health Organization for Europe, warned that “as we enter the summer season, with large gatherings, festivals, and parties, I am concerned that transmission may accelerate.”
Monkeypox is a well-known virus rather than a new one, and we already have vaccines and treatments. It is mostly mild, although it can be more dangerous in young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
It spreads more slowly than covid19 and specific and painful spots are more difficult to get rid of than a cough can be anything. Doctors warn that Monkeypox could have a “massive impact” on access to sexual health services.
The key message for people with symptoms was to pay attention to the diagnosis and then somehow isolate it at home to prevent it from spreading. I hope this article has been helpful to you and don’t forget to share this important information with your friends and family and help them stay safe.