Monkey pox: what is this disease that is re-emerging in Europe?

Several dozen suspected or confirmed cases of monkey pox have been detected since early May in Europe and North America. (© AFP / Archive / Fabrice COFFRINI)

Several dozen suspected or confirmed cases of abekopper has been detected since the beginning of May 2022 in Europe and North America, raising fears about the start of the spread of this endemic disease in West Africa.

What is this disease?

Monkey pox is “a viral disease rare which are mainly observed in isolated areas of central and western Africa, close to tropical rainforests, “the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a 2018 note.

It had been identified “for the first time in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaire), in a nine-year-old boy, then in the spring of 2003, case […] has been confirmed in the United States, marking the first appearance of this disease outside the African continent, ”the WHO further noted.

The virus is mainly transmitted to humans from various wild animals, e.g. rodents or primates, but secondary spread by human-to-human transmission is limited.

WHO World Health Organization

That symptoms cover fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Rash can occur, often on the face, and spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals.

There is no no treatment for monkey cups, which spread by contact with an infected person or its body fluids, including saliva. This viral infection heals itself.

Patients infected in the UK

that United Kingdom, as first reported cases, discovered from May 6, said in a statement Wednesday night that they had identified two new ones. That brings the total number of infected to nine.

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With the exception of the first infected individual, who had recently traveled to Nigeria, these patients became infected in the United Kingdom, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). UKSHAs Dr. Susan Hopkins said in a statement:

These recent cases, along with reports of cases in various European countries, confirm what we initially feared there might be transmission of monkey pox in our society.

Dr. Susan HopkinsMedical Adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

Nearly 50 cases in total

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States have in turn reported having seen the presence of monkey cups, or what appears to be, in their territory.

The two countries on the Iberian Peninsula have reported having identified about 40 suspected or confirmed cases of this disease, prompting the Spanish and Portuguese authorities to issue a national health warning.

On CanadaMore than a dozen suspected cases were investigated in Montreal on Wednesday, according to the public channel Radio-Canada, which cites the city’s health authorities.

And in the United States, a man who had recently traveled to Canada tested positive for this disease in the state of Massachusetts.

A doctor examines a woman infected with monkey pox in a quarantine area at the Médecins Sans Frontières center in October 2018 in Zomea Kala, Central African Republic.
A doctor examines a woman infected with monkey pox in a quarantine area at the Médecins Sans Frontières center in October 2018 in Zomea Kala, Central African Republic. (© AFP / Archive / CHARLES BOUESSEL)

Not contagious between humans

The authorities want to be globally reassuring, thus emphasizing in Spain and Portugal that the disease is not very contagious between humans.

In general, mortality during outbreaks of monkey orthopox virus (scientific name for monkey pox, editor’s note) has been determined between 1% and 10%, most deaths occur in the youngest, “it says on the WHO’s website.

Transmission through sexual relationships

However, the rise in apparent outbreaks is worrying, and the World Health Organization said on Monday that it was very interested in the fact that some of the cases in the UK appear to have been transmitted within the gay community.

“We observe infection among men who have sex with men “, which is” new information that we need to study properly to better understand the dynamics “of transmission, said Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO’s Deputy Director – General for Emergency Preparedness, in Geneva.

But “anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkey pox,” the United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) pointed out.

With AFP.

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