Monkeypox is a rare virus that normally only originates in Central and West Africa. But since the beginning of May, there have also been infections in Europe. The good news is that there is a vaccine.
Monkeypox, or monkeypox, is a companion of the now exterminated smallpox that caused smallpox. The virus was detected this week in five young people in Portugal. Fifteen other people are believed to be infected, the Portuguese health authorities report.
In Spain there would be at least eight cases and in the United Kingdom seven, plus a doubtful case. For the time being, this is a rare outbreak of a disease that mainly occurs in Africa.
‘We are worried about the fact that this is very different from what we normally expect from monkeypox. I think we’re a little concerned that there may be spread outside the U.K.,” said Jennifer McQuiston of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC).
It is not clear whether the young Portuguese and Spaniards have recently travelled to Africa, the United Kingdom or other countries. Cases have already been identified in the United States and Canada. Canada already has thirteen cases on the counter and an American who recently went to Canada would also be infected. The patients almost all have skin lesions but are in stable condition.
Mortality rate of 15% in Africa
The American epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding underlines on Twitter that in Africa about one in ten people dies from the virus and that children in particular are very sensitive to monkeypox. Nevertheless, the mortality rate of about 15% would be a lot lower in Europe, where the health system is better developed.
The existing vaccine against smallpox would be about 85% effective against monkeypox. Adults who used to receive that vaccine would still enjoy some protection against the so-called monkeypox. People under the age of 50 who never got that virus could get a jab within four days of infection and be adequately protected.
There would also be an FDA-approved vaccine from pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic that offers a combined protection against both smallpox and monkeypox.
Furthermore, there would also be excellent antiviral drugs that are effective against monkeypox. For example, the drugs cidofovir and brincidofovir, discovered by the Rega Institute of the KU Leuven, would offer protection against monkeypox.
Transfer by air? (Monkeypox)
The transmission of monkeypox mainly takes place via droplets infected with the virus. Direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or indirect contact through contaminated clothing or bedding would also lead to transmission, several experts know.
In the case of smallpox, ‘transmission via contact with material from the smallpox pustules or scabs should also be prevented. However, crusts are much less contagious than secretions of the respiratory tract,” reads the CDC’s website.
“Let’s hope monkeypox is less contagious, but first let’s be careful,” Feigl-Ding writes.
The American epidemiologist also wondered whether monkeypox can be transmitted through the air. ‘We are not 100% sure, but perhaps it is quite possible.
One study shows that it can be stable in the air for 90 hours and may still be contagious during that time. That’s not a good sign,” the scientist concludes.
‘An unwelcome surprise’
The internet, meanwhile, reacts especially cautiously and cynically to the news of the new virus outbreak.
“Today, the U.S. government ordered thirteen million monkeypox vaccines,” writes journalist Jordan Schachtel on Twitter. “Big Pharma made $500 billion from COVID-19. They are addicted to the new business model: release and vaccination.
The next pandemic is coming. Monkeypox?’, sneers internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in response to that news.
“I always expect new viruses to do their thing and rear their heads, especially when travel starts again, but my goodness, monkeypox emerging in Western Europe, is an unwelcome surprise,” says Vivian
Monkeypox: how dangerous are they?
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