No cases have been detected in Arizona yet, but scientists are paying attention to monkeypox. Monkeypox is a viral disease associated with smallpox that has recently become widespread in North America, Europe and Australia.
Travelers returning from Nigeria to the United Kingdom were found to have the disease in early May, and since then other cases have been observed in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and several other countries. I am.
A Massachusetts man was confirmed to have the disease this week, and health officials are investigating another suspicious case in New York. The World Health Organization on Friday called an emergency meeting to discuss the outbreak.
Researchers have been studying monkeypox for decades, and some have been surprised to see monkeypox appearing in so many different places.
“This is a really interesting outbreak. I know a lot about monkey pox, but I don’t know everything,” said Translational Genomics, a non-profit organization focused on biological science and biomedical applications. David Engelthaler, Head of Pathogens and Microbiology at the Institute (TGen), said. “In this particular case, I’ve never really seen it … one outbreak is actually related to multiple continents.”
Koenraad Van Doorslaer, an assistant professor of virology at the University of Arizona, said that although unlocalized outbreaks are somewhat rare, I don’t think monkeypox was equally in the public eye. COVID19 Pandemic.
“I can’t help but think that it would have been a pretty niche for some biologists to worry if COVID and the general public weren’t standing a bit on the edge, but I doubt that. It’s about the same. Would have had an impact. “
As a virologist, he hasn’t seen much of the cause of concern yet. “Sure, I don’t think panic is right at this point. Thanks to SARS-CoV-2, I think we’re in a high state, which makes everyone a little more edgy. I think, “he said, saying he already has resources for testing, vaccination and treatment of the virus.
So far, science has taught us about the development of monkeypox:
What is monkeypox? Where did it come from?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus closely related to the virus that causes smallpox and cowpox. It was first discovered in a monkey colony that had been bred for research in 1958, and the first human case was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. According to the CDC..
Early May 2022, Confirmed by the World Health Organization A case of monkeypox of a British traveler returning from Nigeria. This disease is endemic. The United States last occurred in 2003. When the CDC reports 47 confirmed and suspicious cases After some people came into contact with an infected pet prairie dog housed with a cargo of small mammals from Ghana.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox has a characteristic rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. It may also be preceded by fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and muscle aches.
Engel Thaler said it wasn’t a fun illness. When you sign it, he said, “You could probably get a terrible flu for four weeks. This pretty terrible rash will essentially keep you asleep during that period.”
How does monkeypox spread?
Humans can get monkeypox when in contact with infected animals. It spreads from person to person through direct contact with body fluids or skin lesions. It can also spread through close contact with infected individuals, such as respiratory droplets and contaminated objects. According to WHO.
According to Van Doorslaer, monkeypox is very unlikely to occur in Arizona at this time, but if you find something that looks like a skin lesion, you should contact your doctor to see a doctor. .. The CDC warned doctors on Friday to be aware of monkeypox skin lesions.
How serious is the illness? Is it deadly?
The severity of monkeypox depends on the person’s baseline health level, the degree of exposure, and the strain of the virus that is infected. Currently circulating West African strains cause milder illness and lower mortality than Central African strains.
Monkeypox “has a very low overall mortality rate, especially in areas with advanced medical care,” Engeltaler said.
Is monkeypox as contagious as SARS-CoV-2?
Monkeypox is not as contagious as the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2. Also, it is not considered contagious during the incubation period and is not considered contagious. Asymptomatic infections are not documented.
May 19th, a team of scientists Sequencing of the draft genome of the currently circulating monkeypox strain.. Something in the virus may have changed since its previous outbreak, but in theory it could have affected the infectivity and other properties of the virus, but scientists have used genetic data to do so. It will take some time to figure it out, Vand Alaser said.
Monkeypox is a different type of virus than the new coronavirus, and its genetic material is DNA rather than RNA, so it is unlikely that as many variants as SARS-CoV-2 will pop out. “(DNA) does not accumulate changes as easily as RNA, so (monkeypox) does not accumulate mutations near what is found in HIV, influenza, and even SARS,” Van Doorslaer said. I am.
Is there a monkeypox vaccine?
Yes, the smallpox vaccine is also effective against monkeypox. Government officials said it was a routine move by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA). The United States recently ordered 13 million doses of a vaccine called JYNNEOS.Protects against smallpox and monkeypox.
“We have a pretty good vaccine and we have a cure for it,” said Van Doorsler. “When the push comes in, it’s there.”
What if I’m traveling to a place where monkeypox has been detected?
CDC Issued Level 2 Alert for MonkeypoxThat is, travelers need to implement enhanced precautions to avoid illness. These precautions include avoiding close contact with sick people, including skin and genital lesions.
In addition, travelers should minimize exposure to dead animals and avoid eating wildlife meat (bushmeat) or using products derived from African wildlife.
Does monkeypox cause another pandemic?
Engeltaler said there is little evidence that monkeypox is as prevalent as the COVID-19 pandemic. “The types of spreads are quite limited. So far, no one has died. And based on that knowledge, we need to be less worried about this becoming another epidemic or pandemic. No, “he said.
Van Doorslaer agrees that monkeypox is unlikely to cause another pandemic.
“Theoretically everything is possible, but that’s not something I’m worried about,” he said.
What to watch out for:A mysterious form of hepatitis that can be seen in four children in Arizona
Still, Monkeypox said it serves as a reminder that other viruses than the coronavirus can affect human life, Engeltaler said.
“COVID is not the only virus,” he said, saying that the virus regularly spills from animals to humans. “It always happens in the background and usually (these viruses) don’t lead to a pandemic, but that’s … in our very global economy and society, things are possible and need to be monitored more closely. It’s really easy to move around. “
Independent coverage of biological sciences in Arizona is supported by a grant from the Flynn Foundation.
Melina Walling is a bioscience reporter covering COVID-19, Health, Technology, Agriculture and the Environment. You can contact her via her email ([email protected]) or Twitter (@ MelinaWalling).
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