On Wednesday, the CDC confirmed a case of monkeypox in the body of a Massachusetts man
who recently visited Canada.
It’s not the first time that the US has been hit by an outbreak of monkeypox. a smallpox-related
virus that can cause flu-like symptoms as well as a rash. It can occasionally be fatal.
Sometimes, health officials find isolated cases among people who have recently returned to
West or Central Africa, where the virus is more prevalent.
What’s distinctive (and concerning)regarding this Massachusetts situation is the fact that it’s
taking place because monkeypox-related clusters have been reported in other countries where
the virus is extremely rare.
Since May 1 this year, in the early months of May, UK Health Security Agency has identified the
presence of 9 cases of the virus as well as Portugal as well as Spain have been notified of
fourteen as well as the number of suspected cases and 23 suspected cases, respectively. (The
number of cases is constantly changing and the University of Oxford epidemiologist posted the
link to a fake tracker in which you can view the most recent statistics.)
With so many cases of monkeypox that are surfacing in different countries, health officials’ first
question is whether these cases could be linked or if monkeypox is spreading to other
“The global concern of public health officials is to determine how these issues are linked to each
other, and what causes they are,” said Agam Rao an expert in infectious diseases and a
poxvirus expert at CDC.
Just a few weeks into this outbreak it’s not yet time to know what’s happening, or whether the
outbreak is of the potential for an epidemic. In the meantime it seems, according to Rao, the
general population shouldn’t be concerned. “The risk remains very uncommon,” she said, and
the monkeypox strain which is being detected at present is light.
Two years after a deeply divided global pandemic, news of another pathogen that has been
circulating unchecked may make some wish to shoot themselves into the sunshine.
With monkeypox, the world is in a different situation from the beginning days of Covid-19.
Monkeypox is, unlike SARS-CoV-2, a recognized amount. There are more tools available to
treat and prevent it — much greater than what we had with Covid-19 when it first emerged as the
pandemic. Also, both public health professionals and the general population have had plenty of
training in taking steps to stop diseases from spreading. The course of the outbreak remains still
uncertain and health professionals in the public sector remain on guard.
Monkeypox: What exactly is it?
Monkeypox is a virus that circulates among wildlife throughout Central as well as West Africa
and is usually transmitted to humans who eat or come into any other contact with the infected
animals. The virus was first identified among research animal specimens at CDC during the 50s
(that’s the reason it received its moniker “monkeypox”) and for quite a while following that,
human infections were intermittent, even in nations where a large number of animals are
This is due to the fact that monkeypox is closely related to the smallpox virus. Moreover,
smallpox immunity is protective against monkeypox. But as of the year 1980, smallpox was
eliminated in humans, vaccinations against smallpox are becoming scarce, and the number of
cases of monkeypox in humans has been increasing. The disease is still uncommon according
to the CDC, Nigeria has reported more than 450 cases since 2017 when health authorities in
the public sector started to see more cases in people.
The virus that causes monkeypox typically causes a flu-like illness with headache, fever and
muscle pains, swelling of lymph nodes, and the appearance of a rash. While monkeypox does
not have any connection to chickenpox the typical rash of the disease appears a lot similar to it,
beginning with small red patches on your face and lips before spreading to legs and arms.
Within 4 to 5 days, the spots transform into tiny liquid-filled blisters, which are typically sensitive
to touch. They eventually become doughnut-shaped and then begin to form a crust after two
The disease’s R0 — which is the number of people who could be able to contract a disease
transmissible from someone who is infected with the virus — may be quite small, ranging
between the range of one to two.
“It’s not as easily transmissible as measles or smallpox or, certainly, not Covid,” said Anne
Rimoin who is an epidemiologist for infectious diseases at the University of California Los
Angeles that specializes in monkeypox and other emerging illnesses.
Transmission can be caused by close contact with bodily fluids of an affected person as well as
items that have come into contact with sores or fluids (like bedding) and the virus could be
spread through aerosols or respiratory droplets that remain throughout the atmosphere. But
unlike Covid-19, where people who are infected can spread the disease before getting sick,
monkeypox isn’t considered contagious before people develop symptoms.
There are two major types of monkeypox: the “West Africa” variant in addition to”Congo Basin”
version “Congo Basin” version. Of both versions, one is more prevalent. The Congo Basin
version has historically been more prevalent from person to person and resulted in more deaths.
The current outbreak is centered around those who have the West African version.
The disease is not often linked to deaths in highly-resourced countries such as those in the
United States because people living in those countries typically have access to the care which
can treat most cases of monkeypox according to Rimoin. The year 2003 saw at the very least
53 people living in the Midwestern United States caught the disease from their pet prairie dogs
that had contracted the disease when they lived close to rodents that were brought in from
Ghana and none of the patients who contracted the disease died.
In the rural regions of Africa where the availability of hospital services is less, the virus has
caused death in around 4 percent of patients affected by the virus.
Many treatment options that are approved for treatment for smallpox could be used to treat
infections caused by monkeypox in the event of a need. However, the majority of cases are mild
and it’s not clear if any of the affected patients require or have taken any of these medicines.
What’s the difference between the most recent monkeypox cases?
The most recent monkeypox cluster instances differ from earlier clusters in a number of ways.
To begin, the current outbreak is involving a number of diseases that occur simultaneously in
other African countries which are where the disease can be found within wild mammals. “We’ve
never seen a situation in which so many cases have been observed outside of these countries
at the same time,” said Rao.
Also, what’s unique concerning the current cases is the fact that most of them have been
reported by men who have sex with other men (monkeypox transmission has never before been
associated with sexual desire and intimate relationships). A majority of cases show groups of
spots that resemble pimples that are located in the genital region which is a rare place for the
rash to appear.
When doctors made the first few diagnoses in men coming to clinics for sexual health with
unusual rashes, health professionals began asking clinics that specialize in sexual health to be
on the lookout for cases of monkeypox. It doesn’t mean that monkeypox is just a problem for
men who are sexually active as some cases have been identified in those who aren’t bisexual or
“We’re finding where we’re looking,” Maria Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization
emerging diseases and zoonoses expert, said in an interview with STAT.
If the monkeypox outbreak happens to result in male sexual networks but that doesn’t mean it’s
an infectious sexually transmitted disease It could be a matter of being close enough to an
infected person to be infected, and then themselves.
Other infections spread through close, but
not exclusively sexual contact have resulted in clusters of infections in gay and bisexual males
and college students, including the bacterium meningitis. meningitis is a disease that can be
spread through droplets of respiratory fluids in closed environments
How worried is the general public in regards to this spread?
Alongside seeking to determine the root cause of this outbreak as well as the transmission
routes the public health authorities are also working to sequence infections isolated from
individuals to discover if the virus has been altered in any way that could cause it to be more or
differently transmissible, according to Rao.
At the moment, however, there’s no evidence to suggest that the virus has experienced any
significant change, she added.
At present, the population isn’t concerned about the danger of the monkeypox virus to
themselves and their close ones. “It is not easily transmitted from person to person, so the risk
for the general population is minimal,” said Rimoin. Health professionals are on high alert for the
virus, it’s much more probable to get detected rapidly among people who become infected. It is
then quickly controlled by stopping transmission chains.
“We’d have to witness an important cluster of or ongoing transmission” before the health
authorities of the public take any comprehensive preventive measures in place, added Rimoin.
The possibility of a massive monkeypox outbreak is likely to be much less troublesome to
manage as opposed to the covid-19 epidemic. First, the fact that it isn’t considered to be
contagious prior to the time people start showing symptoms can make it difficult for people to
accidentally spread the virus. Alongside treatments, we have effective vaccinations to protect
people who are most susceptible to the disease. Public health agencies within the UK. The UK
has been immunizing individuals who are close to the source of those who have been affected
to stop the further spread of the infection.
It’s not a new disease. Therefore, should monkeypox turn into an even bigger issue than it is
now and public health officials have the instruments to handle the situation?
As an outcome of Covid-19, a pandemic public health is now in an excellent position to deal with
“I believe we’re in the well-positioned position to handle monkeypox as most health facilities
have lab networks, staffing, and funds from Covid that could be used to respond in an
emergency,” said Jay Varma an epidemiologist and physician located within New York City who
recently was the senior advisor for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The
most important thing to consider is what happens if that funding is exhausted in the coming