With the identification of cases of monkey pox in Europe, curiosity about the nature of the disease and the risk of transmission has increased. In recent weeks, several cases of the virus have been identified in some European countries, the United States and Australia.
In the second week of May (around the second half of May), six cases of monkey pox were identified in the UK. On Friday, May 20, a definite outbreak of the virus was confirmed in southern Germany.
The German Federal Institute for Microbiology in Munich says a person suspected of having monkeypox has “no doubt” contracted the virus.
Cases of smallpox have been reported in a number of other European countries, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden, and in North America and Australia.
Origin of the virus, Central and West Africa
About half a century after the detection of the monkey pox virus, cases have been reported in the United States and Europe, all of which have been linked to travel to West and Central Africa or contact with imported animals.
The smallpox virus is a type of smallpox virus that has reached the “endemic” or endemic stage in central and western Africa and has occasionally spread in the past.
The exact extent of the monkey pox outbreak in Europe is not yet known, but Jimmy Wittworth, a professor of international public health at London University of Tropical Health and Medicine, says there is no cause for concern.
Elimination of the risk of monkey pox epidemic
Witworth emphasizes that new cases of monkey pox are very uncommon, but will not lead to an epidemic such as the Corona virus and Covid 19 disease.
According to him, however, the issue is about the “serious outbreak of a serious disease” and therefore it is necessary to act accordingly.
Experts are currently investigating the possible chain of monkey pox outbreaks and are advising citizens to see a doctor if they notice any unusual inflammation or skin rashes. It is also recommended that treatment staff be sensitive to monkey pox virus cases.
Animal origin of monkey pox
Smallpox is caused by a relatively large virus, the variola virus, which is the source of smallpox and has been considered eradicated by the World Health Organization since the 1980s.
Unlike real smallpox, monkeypox can affect many animals, including various mammals such as rodents and monkeys. Most cases of monkey pox in humans have been transmitted to animals through animals, and most outbreaks occur in tropical forest areas in central and western Africa.
The Robert Koch Institute in Germany classifies monkey pox as a “reproductive” disease; This means that the disease can regenerate and spread while it is declining.
The African Union’s health agency says many cases of monkey pox have been reported during the Corona pandemic that have gone unnoticed and are under control.
Symptoms of monkey pox
The smallpox virus is not only the actual smallpox virus in the family, but also has similar side effects: Most people develop a fever one to two weeks after infection and also experience swollen lymph nodes, headaches, back pain, muscle aches, and general fatigue.
Blisters and blisters usually appear on the face, hands, feet, and oral mucosa a few days after the onset of fever, often with severe itching and pain.
At the same time, the symptoms of monkey pox can be very mild and the patient may not notice that they are infected, which increases the risk of spreading it to other humans.
Danger of monkey pox for children and pregnant women
According to the World Health Organization, the side effects of monkey pox are often not as severe as those of smallpox, and they are less lethal and more contagious.
According to experts, the disease of monkey pox virus, although in most cases it resolves on its own and does not leave permanent physical damage, should be considered a serious disease.
Despite being far less lethal and contagious than smallpox, monkey pox is more dangerous for children and deaths are often reported among children.
Pregnant women are also among the groups most at risk for monkey pox; The disease can spread to the fetus or cause birth defects and miscarriages.
One of the most common complications of monkey pox is associated infections that may lead to pneumonia, meningitis, or blindness due to retinal infection.
Two different species of monkey pox virus
There are two different types of monkey pox virus; One is the species of West Africa and the other is the species of Central Africa or the Congo region. Dangerous The two species are very different.
Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during West African monkeys, but the mortality rate is much lower than the other species, at about one percent.
The risk of death among people living in Central Africa is about 10%. Based on the findings so far, cases detected in the UK are less dangerously related to the West African virus.
How the virus spreads
One way monkeys are transmitted is through respiratory secretions. The risk of infection in this way is more on the relatives and friends of the patient and the medical staff.
The virus can also be transmitted through wounds and blisters. Those who come in direct contact with the inflamed skin of sick people or the objects they use are at risk.
The Robert Koch Institute also considers sexually transmitted monkey pox to be a way of transmitting it, according to Tagushaw.
The World Health Organization estimates that the risk of transmitting the aphid virus from person to person is very limited, citing research to date; The longest chain of transmission documented in this way to date has been six people.
Ways to prevent the spread of monkey pox
The organization says the most important way to prevent the spread of monkey pox is to identify people associated with the disease to break the chain.
Another effective way to prevent monkeypox is to get the vaccine, which, according to the World Health Organization, is given to people who are at higher risk.
This adapted vaccine is the same vaccine that was developed to fight true smallpox and used to eradicate it. Its effectiveness in preventing monkey pox is 85%.
In Germany, the general recommendation to get the actual smallpox vaccine was lifted in 1983, following the announcement of its eradication.
The smallpox virus was first identified in 1970 and has since been reported in limited cases in 10 African countries.
To date, almost all outbreaks of monkey pox outside Africa have been reported in people who have been in contact with infected citizens or animals on the continent.
In 2003, the first cases of monkey pox outside Africa were identified in the United States, and of the 81 reported cases, none resulted in death.
Given the decline in the limited incidence of monkey pox in African countries themselves and the few cases of infection in other countries, the risk of a widespread outbreak of the virus seems very unlikely if not completely eliminated.