Cases of monkeypox have been reported in several countries around the world – the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe and Australia. There is a growing concern that the virus is spreading unnoticed

COVID-19 is far from over, but another disease is already causing fear. Monkeypox, a rare viral disease associated with the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa, is spreading in Europe and the United States.

At least 75 cases of smallpox – 33 confirmed and 42 suspected – have been reported in countries outside Africa.

The first case in the United Kingdom was reported on May 7, when a man was traveling to Nigeria. The UK Health Agency has said that monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is not easily spread among humans and is usually a mild “disease that goes away on its own”.

However, the cases are growing.

Where have monkeypox cases been detected so far?

During the last outbreak, cases of monkeypox were detected in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Australia.

France, Belgium and Germany announced the first cases on Friday.

There are now 20 confirmed cases in the UK, Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Friday.

One case has been confirmed in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s national public health agency, is monitoring six people for possible infection after they sat next to an infected traveler who had symptoms during a flight from Nigeria to the United The kingdom in early May, reports CNN.

Separately, CDC staff are investigating a case of monkeypox confirmed in a man in Massachusetts who recently traveled to Canada. And the New York Department of Health is investigating a possible infection in a patient who is in the hospital.

In Canada, there are at least a dozen suspected cases of monkeypox, AFP reported. Two of them were confirmed on May 19.

The first case in Australia was found in a man who fell ill after a trip to the UK, according to the Victoria Department of Health. BBC.

How is the virus transmitted?

Monkeypox is a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals, with symptoms very similar to smallpox but less severe clinically.

In Africa, monkeypox has been found in many animals, including rope squirrels, wood squirrels, Gambian poacher rats, dormice, and various species of monkeys and others.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that human-to-human transmission is limited.

Transmission from animals to humans can occur through direct contact with blood, body fluids, or lesions of the skin or mucous membranes of infected animals. Secondary transmission or human-to-human transmission may occur in close contact with airway secretions, skin lesions of an infected person, or newly infected objects. AFP.

Transmission through drip respiratory particles usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts at greater risk of health care workers, family members and other close contacts with infected people.

Human-to-human transmission is uncommon as it requires close contact with bodily fluids such as saliva from cough or pus from lesions. Thus, the risk to the general population is low, according to the UK Health Agency.

However, in England, seven out of eight cases are not related to recent trips to Africa, indicating that patients involved in these cases became infected with the virus in England. In addition, these people have not been in contact with one patient who is known to have traveled to Nigeria in early May.

Together, these data suggest that the virus is spreading in the community unnoticed, reports NPR.

A child suffering from monkeypox is being treated at the center of the international medical non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders in Zomea-Kaka, in the Labay region of the Central African Republic in 2018. AFP

Have there been outbreaks in the past?

In 2003, an outbreak occurred in the United States. Forty-seven confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox have been reported in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

All people infected with smallpox during this outbreak became ill after contact with domestic meadow dogs. Pets were infected after they were placed next to small mammals brought from Ghana. According to the US CDC, this was the first time that human monkeypox had been reported outside of Africa.

In 2020, more than 6,200 suspicious cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Outbreaks occurred in Nigeria from 2017 to 2019, and in 2021 cases were still reported. Apart from Nigeria, since 1970, outbreaks have been reported in nine other Central and West African countries, according to the WHO.

Can monkeypox lead to a pandemic?

Like previous smallpox outbreaks, contact tracking could be used to stop the spread, experts say.

However, a pandemic is unlikely. “I don’t think science is pointing that out at the moment,” Canadian epidemiologist John Braunstein told News Scientist. “It’s important not to put it on the same level as the new coronavirus.”

However, it is unusual that cases are not tracked to a similar source or contacts.

Is there a vaccine against monkeypox?

There is no proven safe treatment for the infection. To fight outbreaks, you can use a smallpox vaccine, antiviral drugs and immune globulin against vaccination (VIG).

The smallpox injection provides 85 percent protection because the two viruses are very similar BBC.

With the participation of agencies

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