What do we know about monkeypox?

1. What is monkeypox?

Also known as monkeypox (monkey orthopoxvirus), this disease was first discovered in the 1950s, when two outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies used for research purposes. The first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Monkeypox is endemic in West Africa and is generally rare elsewhere in the world.

This disease is also called smallpoxIt is often considered a mild form of smallpox. Remember that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated from the world in 1980.

2. What are the symptoms?

Skin rashes can occur in people with monkeypox.

Photo: Brian WJ Mahe

Reported symptoms consist of skin lesions on the mouth and genitals similar to those caused by chickenpox. These symptoms may be preceded or accompanied by fever, night sweats, headache, swollen glands, and joint or muscle pain.

The incubation period ranges from 5 to 21 days. An infected person can be contagious up to five days before the first symptoms appear and remain contagious for the duration of the skin lesions.

Most patients are not admitted to the hospital and symptoms usually resolve eventually without treatment.

However, very rare cases of serious complications can occur. For severe infections, there are some experimental antiviral treatments, such as tecovirimat, cidofovir, or brincidofovir.

The mortality rate for this (West African) strain of the disease is 1%. The mortality rate is somewhat higher in children and people with immunodeficiency.

3. How many cases are there?

Test tubes containing samples of the virus.

The number of monkeypox cases is increasing rapidly worldwide.

Photo: Reuters/Dado Rovik

The first case of monkeypox outside Africa was detected in the UK on May 6, according toWho is the. The patient was returning from a trip to Nigeria.

On May 23, around 200 cases were recorded outside Africa; On May 30, more than 250 cases.

According to a survey conducted by researchers from the Global.health group (A new window)As of June 2, 2022, there were approximately 775 confirmed cases in nearly 30 countries and about a hundred suspected cases. No deaths have been reported.

The countries with the most confirmed cases are: England (199), Spain (156) and Portugal (138).

Canada has about sixty cases, the vast majority in Quebec. And in the province, the number of confirmed cases increased from 25 to more than double in less than a week.

Right now, we’re talking about a possible case when a person has symptoms of the virus and has been in contact with a confirmed or probable case or has traveled to an area where a confirmed case has been detected. People who have no epidemiological link but exhibit associated signs and symptoms of the disease are classified as suspected cases.

In Africa, 7 out of 54 African countries reported having the disease, and there were about three times more cases of monkeypox than usual. According to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 1,400 suspected cases and 63 deaths in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo and Nigeria. Fewer than 50 cases have been confirmed, because testing capabilities are limited in these countries.

According to health officials, genetic sequencing has not shown a direct link to the outbreak outside Africa. So the current outbreak indicates that the virus has been spreading globally undetected for some time.

4. How does the virus spread?

The disease is usually transmitted from infected animals to humans, but it can also be transmitted by humans. It can be transmitted during close physical contact with an infected person or their clothing or bedding.

However, some questions remain unanswered. For example, it is not known whether people who are infected but do not have symptoms can spread the disease or whether the disease can be transmitted through the air, as is the case with measles or COVID-19. Airborne transmission is thought to be less common, but not impossible.

Many cases involve men who have had sex with other men, butWho is the I would like to remind you that monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease. The disease is believed to be transmitted through close contact rather than through sexual activity itself.

5. Can monkeypox be prevented?

The smallpox vaccine is 85% effective against monkeypox and the immunity conferred by the vaccination appears to last more than 25 years.

However, routine immunization programs in Canada and around the world ended in the early 1970s.

At this time, large-scale vaccination campaigns are not recommended. Several countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, are vaccinating some high-risk people, including those who have been in close contact with people suspected of having the infection.

6. Why so many issues now?

Health workers taking samples.

Thousands of cases have been reported in parts of Africa in recent years.

Photo: Getty Images / Melina Mara

It’s the first time he’s been thereWho is the Many cases are observed in many countries at the same time, anywhere other than Africa.

In 2003, a monkeypox epidemic broke out in the United States. About 70 cases have been identified; None of them led to death.

However, many scientists are not surprised to see this explosion of cases around the world.

The number of monkeypox cases in Africa has been increasing for several years (A new window).

From 2005 to 2007, there were fewer than 800 cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 2,800 suspected cases were reported in 2018, then 3,800 in 2019.

In 2020, nearly 6,300 cases were recorded, including 229 deaths. Cases have also increased in neighboring countries such as Sudan and the Republic of the Congo. In Nigeria, more than 500 cases have been recorded since 2017.

Researchers also warned in 2010 (A new window) that because a large proportion of the population has never received the smallpox vaccine, the monkey strain may spread outside the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Moreover, the majority of cases in the Republic of the Congo in recent years are young people who have not been vaccinated against smallpox.

Additionally, according to these same researchers, animal migrations caused by climate change and deforestation fuel human-animal interactions, facilitating the spread of viruses such as monkeypox to humans.

The large number of cases in Africa, combined with more travel since the lifting of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, may have created the ideal conditions for its rapid spread.

according to’Who is theThere is no concrete evidence yet that the virus has mutated. It should be noted that these cardiac viruses tend to be quite stable.


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