According to the news released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 4, 2022, since May 13, 2022, as of June 2, 2022, a total of 780 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 27 WHO non-monkeypox-endemic member countries worldwide confirmed cases. In addition to this, from January to June 2022, 1,408 suspected and 44 confirmed cases, including 66 deaths, were reported in seven endemic countries. The World Health Organization expects that as the outbreak progresses and surveillance expands in endemic and non-endemic countries, more monkeypox cases are likely to emerge.
Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus that has previously been rarely detected outside of Africa. Recently, there have been frequent confirmed cases of monkeypox in many non-endemic countries, and some of the confirmed cases have no history of living in endemic areas, which has caused scientists to be highly vigilant.
For monkeypox virus, people may not have heard of it, but it did not “emerge” suddenly. The virus was first discovered in a group of laboratory monkeys in 1958. The first confirmed case of monkeypox in humans occurred in Congo in 1970.
Monkeypox virus is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus. It has two distinct clades: the Central African (Congo Basin) clades and the West African clades. Among them, the West African clade had a low mortality rate of less than 1%, while the Central African clade had a mortality rate as high as 10%. Since the recent monkeypox outbreak, researchers have sequenced viral genomes collected from monkeypox patients in countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and the United States, and found that all strains have genome sequences that are related to the West African clade. very similar. But exactly how different the strains responsible for the current outbreak are from the West African strains, and whether cases emerging in different countries are linked, remains unknown.
Monkeypox virus belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus of the Poxviridae family, which is in the same genus as the familiar smallpox virus, vaccinia virus and vaccinia virus. Symptoms of monkeypox patients are also similar to those of smallpox patients, but they are less severe and less contagious. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 6 to 13 days, and sometimes 5 to 21 days. Symptoms of the aggressive phase are characterized by fever, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Patients typically develop a rash within 1 to 3 days after the onset of fever, usually starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The lesions will go through the stages of spots, papules, vesicles, pustules, and dried and sloughed crusts before they fall off. A distinguishing feature of monkeypox is swollen lymph nodes compared to other diseases that may initially present with similar symptoms (chickenpox, measles, smallpox).
It is worth mentioning that with the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and the subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, our younger generation is not immune to the monkeypox virus, so there is a possibility of infection.
Of course, we don’t have to panic too much. Since monkeypox virus is a DNA virus that is better at repairing mutations than RNA viruses, it is unlikely that monkeypox virus will suddenly become a virus that is good at human-to-human transmission.
In addition, studies have shown that the smallpox vaccine is about 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. So far, the smallpox vaccine Jynneos developed by BavarianNordicwc has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox infections.
Getting this vaccine before exposure to monkeypox can effectively protect people from monkeypox. Experts also believe that vaccination following monkeypox exposure may help prevent disease or reduce symptoms.
In addition, some measures can be taken to prevent monkeypox virus infection. For example, avoid contact with animals that may carry the virus (including animals that are sick or dead in monkeypox-infested areas); avoid contact with anything that has been in contact with sick animals, such as bedding; Isolation; practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or people, such as washing hands with soap or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; use personal protective equipment when caring for sick people.
The new crown is still unresolved, monkeypox is on the rise again, and the frequent new infectious diseases are worrying. In fact, whether it is coronavirus or monkeypox virus, they have existed in nature for a long time, but it was mainly transmitted between animals before, and later broke through the interspecies barrier and infected people, so it attracted our attention. The reason why the virus launched an “attack” on humans comes from humans themselves. With the acceleration of human urbanization, along with deforestation, wild animals are forced to enter the living circle of human beings, so that the viruses that were originally mainly transmitted in animal groups have developed adaptation after a long period of evolution and increased contact with people. mutation.
Today, with the formation of the global village, the prevention and control of infectious diseases has become more difficult, and they are no longer confined to a certain area, but spread globally. At the same time, the spread of infectious diseases is closely related to people, animals and the environment. Therefore, in the future, we will establish the scientific concept of One Health. Scientists must establish a large-scale, multidisciplinary research system, and strive to explore unknown virus species in nature and how viruses evolve in different ecological environments. Respond well to various emergencies.