Monkey smallpox was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. The first human case of this variant was recorded in 1970 in the Congo. It was later reported in humans in other Central and West African countries.
“Monkey poops reappeared in Nigeria in 2017, after more than 40 years without reported cases. Since then, more than 450 cases have been reported in the African country and at least eight cases exported internationally.
According to the institute, this type of smallpox is caused by a virus that infects monkeys, but which can otherwise infect humans. “There are two types of monkeypox viruses: those from West Africa and those from the Congo Basin (Central Africa). Although monkeypox virus infection in West Africa sometimes leads to serious illness in some individuals, the disease is usually self-limiting (which does not require treatment),” explains the institute.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Saturday (18) that it will delete from its statistics the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries regarding the monkey pox virus, known as monkey pox. According to the organization, the measure is intended to facilitate an overall response to the virus.
“We remove the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries, and report on countries together whenever possible, to reflect the united response needed,” the statement, released Saturday on the WHO website, read.
Before the disease spread to several countries, monkey pox was considered endemic (circulating throughout the year in a country with an expected amount of cases and deaths) in Central and West African countries. However, in recent months, there have been reports of the disease in several other non-endemic countries, particularly in Europe, which already account for 84% of reported cases, according to the WHO.
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This year alone, between January 1 and June 15, the agency said 2,103 confirmed cases of monkey pox were reported in 42 countries, as well as a probable case and one death. However, the WHO estimates that the number of cases is even higher. “It is likely that the actual number of cases remains underestimated. This may be due in part to the lack of early clinical recognition of an infectious disease thought to occur primarily in West and Central Africa, a non-serious clinical presentation in most cases, limited monitoring and lack of widely available diagnoses.
Smallpox caused by hMPXV virus (Human Monkeypox Virus) causes a milder disease than smallpox smallpox, which was eradicated in the 1980s. There are two endemic strains of monkey cups circulating on the planet today. The endemic strain in West Africa, which has a mortality rate of 1% to 3%, is the one that has been responsible for the current outbreak in other countries. The second strain of monkey pox, which is also endemic in some African countries, originating in the Congo, is considered more dangerous with a mortality rate of up to 10%, according to the WHO.
For the time being, the WHO considers the disease to be a moderate risk, as it is the first time that outbreaks of infection have occurred in non-endemic countries, which are very far apart. On June 23, the organization will meet to assess whether the current outbreak represents a “public health emergency of international significance”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, wrote on his social network. The new coronavirus pandemic, for example, was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO in January 2020.
Monkey pox is a rare viral disease that is transmitted by close contact with an infected person with skin lesions. Contact can be through hugs, kisses, massage or intercourse. The disease is also transmitted by respiratory secretions and by contact with objects, fabrics (clothes, bedding or towels) and surfaces used by the patient.
There is no specific treatment, but the clinical pictures are usually mild, requiring care and observation of the lesions. The greatest risk of exacerbation generally occurs in immunosuppressed persons with HIV / AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, metastases, transplant recipients, persons with autoimmune diseases, pregnant, lactating women and children under 8 years of age.
The first symptoms may be fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills or fatigue. One to three days after the onset of symptoms, people develop skin lesions, usually on the mouth, feet, chest, face and / or genitals.
For prevention, close contact with the patient should be avoided until all wounds have healed, as well as any material that has been used by the infected person. It is also important to wash hands, wash them with soap and water or use alcohol gel.