More than 3,000 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox have been identified worldwide, 167 in the Netherlands, should we be concerned?
What is monkey pox?
The monkeypox virus causes smallpox. As the name suggests, it was first recognized in monkeys. It is mainly restricted to West and Central Africa.
Why is it in the news?
Last Wednesday, 167 cases of monkeypox were identified in the Netherlands, according to RIVM. On that day, there were more than 3,000 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox known around the world since the outbreak began, according to a list of reports prepared by Moritz Kraemer, associate professor of computational and genomic epidemiology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and a professor at Oxford University. in the UK. Biomedical informatics John Brownstein of Boston Children’s Hospital and colleagues. Cases come from the Americas, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and Europe.
Ideas that changed the world
What are the symptoms?
Monkeypox infection is usually mild. Most people recover without treatment within 14 to 21 days. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue.
You can get a chickenpox-like rash, which often begins on the face and then spreads mainly to the hands and feet. The rash goes through several stages and develops into thickened skin and fluid-filled blisters. Eventually, crusts form and fall off.
How dangerous is the disease?
Therefore, monkeypox is usually a mild disease from which you can recover without treatment within a few weeks. There are two main types: the Congo tribe and the West African tribe. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the mortality rate for monkeypox is between 1 and 10 percent. This applies to the Congo tribe. The West African strain is fatal in about 1 in 100 reported cases.
Amid the ongoing outbreak, information about the virus’s DNA sequence is limited. So far, only a West African tribe has been identified.
In addition, it is important to realize that the reported death rates only cover the percentage of deaths among people who have already been confirmed: the so-called Case Fatality Ratio† Many people have mild symptoms, and these often go unnoticed. Thus, the death rate from infection, and the proportion of deaths among all infected, can be much lower.
According to the World Health Organization, children with monkeypox are more likely than adults to develop serious illnesses. Infection during pregnancy can also lead to complications, including stillbirth.
How does monkeypox spread?
You can get monkeypox from infected wild animals in parts of West and Central Africa, for example from being bitten or from contact with animal blood, fluids, spots, blisters or scabies. Monkeypox can also be transmitted by eating undercooked meat from an infected animal.
The virus is not transmitted from person to person. However, it can be transmitted through contact with body fluids, blisters or crusts, or by inhaling large airborne droplets — usually no more than three feet tall, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Touching an infected person’s clothing, bedding, or towels can also be dangerous.
Is there a vaccine? How is monkeypox treated?
In Europe and the United States, a vaccine called Jynneos (also known as Imvanex and Imvamune) is approved for people over the age of 18, which helps prevent monkeypox and smallpox infections.
Some people were vaccinated against smallpox as children, which provides some protection against monkeypox. Routine vaccination against smallpox ended in the Netherlands in 1974 (in the United Kingdom in 1971 and the United States in 1972).
The antiviral drug tecovirimat (also sold under the brand name Tpoxx) has been approved in Europe to treat monkeypox, smallpox, and cowpox. In the United States, only smallpox can be treated with this.
Why all the fuss?
Any disease that spreads in animals and can be transmitted to humans can lead to another pandemic if the disease mutates and becomes more deadly or more easily transmitted.
Most people expect that monkeypox can be controlled by searching for the source and contact. The infection is also significantly less transmissible than, say, Covid-19, and vaccine and treatment options already exist.