‘A completely different situation’… Should monkeypox be worried?

Al-Hurra website wrote: With talk about monkeypox cases that have appeared in regions around the world, the urgent question on the minds of many has become: Should we be concerned? How dangerous is the infection and how widespread is it? Especially since we are not finished with the Corona pandemic, which has shocked the world.

The Economist magazine explained in a report that the causes of the disease and the requirements for its treatment differ from the Corona virus that causes Covid-19 disease, which can be transmitted easily from one person to another.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is endemic in West Africa. Symptoms are usually fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash on the hands and face.

So far, there are dozens of confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States and another 50 unconfirmed.

And the World Health Organization said, on Friday, that most of the new infections in Western countries were detected in gay men, noting that it seeks to study the transmission of the virus, especially within the gay community.

US President Joe Biden said Sunday that the latest cases are something “to be concerned about.”

Patients usually recover within two to four weeks without requiring hospitalization, but the disease is sometimes fatal.

The Economist notes that Britain reported 11 new cases on May 20, more than the total in the previous two weeks, and many of these do not have travel links to Africa, meaning that the disease was transmitted locally.

However, the journal report notes that the virus does not spread aggressively, and existing vaccines can protect those at risk.

And its severity depends on the type of breed. There are two strains, the first is linked to previous outbreaks in the Congo Basin, and the death rate due to this strain reaches 10 percent.

The other West African strain is less severe, with a mortality rate of 1 percent.

These estimates are derived from outbreaks in remote places in Africa with poor health care, but in Western countries with better health care system, the virus may be less lethal.

Also, monkeypox does not have a great ability to spread, and it cannot be as contagious as measles, for example.

For monkeypox to spread from person to person, they must have close contact through coughing and sneezing droplets that enter the nose, throat or eyes.

The infection is also transmitted through contact with the skin, clothing or bedding of an infected person.

Vaccinations may provide protection. The Danish company “Bavarian Nordic” obtained US approval for the vaccine against monkeypox in 2019.

This smallpox vaccine has also been approved, and data from Africa indicates that the previous smallpox vaccination is at least 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the vaccine may be more effective if it is given to a patient before or within four days of exposure to the virus.

Even if given up to 14 days after exposure, it may be beneficial in relieving symptoms.

Animal studies suggest that some of the antiviral drugs used for other smallpox viruses may also be helpful.

Containment is ‘possible’
Containing monkeypox, according to The Economist, is relatively easy, and this can be done by isolating confirmed or suspected cases and tracing infected contacts, which may stop transmission strains.

The smallpox vaccine is likely to be used for “circular” vaccination, that is, to vaccinate contacts of infected people and health workers at high risk.

“Circular vaccination” of contacts has succeeded in reducing some recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa.

The Economist expects to find more cases of monkeypox in the next few days and weeks, but it is unlikely that it will become out of control.

And while the new Corona virus shocked the world, because it was not prepared for it and there were no drugs or vaccines available, monkeypox is in a “completely different” situation.

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