Photo credit: National world
by Lawrence Jones, PhD
Earlier this week, science and health attention to the reports of monkey virus infections in people worldwide. Fiore (May 20, 2022) reports that “researchers are keeping a close eye on what appears to be a rapidly developing global outbreak of the monkeypox virus.” She further adds, “this isn't like previous encounters with the virus; the widespread nature of the outbreak and evidence of frequent human to human transmission has researchers questioning whether the virus has changed and become more transmissible.” The CDC (2022) also reported that on May 18, 2022, a U.S. resident tested positive for monkeypox after returning to the U.S. from Canada.”
Epidemiologists pause because the symptoms of monkey pox are a lot deadlier than most viruses. “Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox” (CDC,2022). The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the part of the world geography, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1970 monkeypox has been reported in humans throughout other central and western African countries. Faust (May 19, 2022) says that many people are worried that whatever strain of monkeypox is currently causing the outbreaks, the concern is more transmissible than the monkey pox from the 1970s.
Researchers say they don't know how transmissible this current strain of monkeypox is. Public health agencies have reported that this monkeypox outbreak has spread in males who have had sexual contact with other infected males or members of a shared sexual network. Monkeypox is currently known to have been distributed through sexual contact. As of Friday, May 20, 2022, cases have been confirmed or under investigation in the United States in Massachusetts and New York. Other countries identified are the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, France, Canada, Sweden, and Italy. What has puzzled scientists is that this virus would be associated with people that have traveled to West of Central Africa where the disease is more common. The cause for the concern is that the virus is spreading in undetected ways.
Antivirals and immunoglobulins are used to treat monkeypox currently, and people who have received the smallpox vaccine in the past are expected to have some protection. Occasionally, monkey pox can jump from animal to human. Fiore(May 20, 2022) reports that the “smallpox vaccine Jynneos (also known as Immune or Imvanex) is indicated for monkeypox as well.” This vaccine is an attenuated, live-virus vaccine that cannot replicate in the human body. Smallpox virus vaccines can be used to offset the spread of infections as an option. Until then, the threat of mass infections is currently tiny. It is suitable for our readers to be aware of the current state of viral infections that epidemiologists are paying close attention to—the narrative matters.
CDC (2022).Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC
Faust, J. (May 19, 2022). Is this monkeypox strain more contagious? What have we learned and how worried should we be? Is this monkeypox strain more contagious? What have we learned and how worried should we be? | Meta Bulletin
Fiore, K. (May 20, 2022). What Doctors Need to Know About Monkeypox. MedPage Today. https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/98832
Johnson, H. (May 20, 2022). Is Monkeypox deadly? Can virus identified in UK kill people, global death rate, and is it contagious.Is Monkeypox deadly? Global death rate explained | NationalWorld