Monkeypox detected in at least 11 countries; scientists claim to be puzzled over its spread
An Israeli man in his 30s has been hospitalized in Tel Aviv with the first suspected case of the monkeypox virus
. The man previously visited Western Europe, where there had been dozens of cases of the disease.
The patient was reported to be in good condition and under isolation and close monitoring at Ichilov Hospital. The Israeli Ministry of Health
also asked people returning from abroad who have experienced fevers or a blistering rash to contact their doctors immediately.
Monkeypox cases outside Africa are limited and normally associated with travel to the continent or with the importation of infected animals. Thus, the number of cases detected outside the continent in the past week had scientists on high alert. It already surpassed the number detected outside the continent since 1970, when the virus was first identified to cause a disease in humans.
At least eight European countries have reported cases of the virus, mostly among sexually active men who presented for diagnosis at STD clinics.
By Friday, May 20, there had been 20 reported cases in the U.K., which declared an "emergency." France, Germany and Belgium also have confirmed cases. Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal confirmed their own cases on Wednesday, May 18, and infected individuals were also confirmed in Sweden and Italy.
The U.S. reported its first case in a man from Massachusetts who recently traveled to Canada, which in turn has reported two confirmed monkeypox cases and 17 suspected cases. The disease was also reported in Australia.
Other suspected cases are being monitored. The U.S. government has already purchased millions of doses of a smallpox vaccine
that was approved for use against monkeypox back in 2019. While the virus itself is incurable, the Department of Defense
already signed a $7.5 million contract for doses of the antiviral drug, tecovirimat. (Related: Federal government purchases two million doses of smallpox drug in preparation for bioterrorism attack
The World Health Organization
held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss monkeypox.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox normally starts with flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Chickenpox-like rash with pustules then appear on the hands and face, with the symptoms manifesting within one to two weeks after infection. Those who are infected typically recover within a few weeks.
Researchers first detected the disease in laboratory monkeys in 1958 (thus, the name monkeypox). The virus was thought to transmit from wild animals such as rodents to people, or from infected people. There are only a few thousand cases that occur in Africa in an average year, usually in the western and central parts.
Jay Hooper, a virologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, said monkeypox is no SARS-CoV-2
– the virus responsible for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It does not transmit from person to person readily, and because it is related to the smallpox virus, there are already treatments and vaccines ready to curb its spread.
Unlike COVID-19, which spreads through tiny airborne droplets called aerosols, monkeypox is thought to spread from close contact with bodily fluids
, such as saliva from coughing. This means that a person with monkeypox is likely to infect far fewer close contacts than anyone with COVID-19.
Researchers in Portugal already uploaded the first draft genome of the virus that was detected in their country. However, virologist Gustavo Palacios said it was still a very early draft, and more work is needed to draw any definitive conclusions. (Related: FDA's 'forgotten freezer' contains dozens of biological agents
What they found so far from the preliminary genetic data is that the virus is related to a viral strain predominantly found in Western Africa and causes milder forms of the disease. It has a low death rate of about one percent in poor, rural populations compared to the one that circulates in Central Africa. However, it does not give definitive data on how it is causing outbreaks, and whether or not the viruses detected in various places are linked to one another.
For monkeypox to be detected in people with no connection to one another suggests that it may have been spreading silently.
Follow Outbreak.news for more updates on the spread of monkeypox.
Watch the video below for more information about monkeypox and its likelihood of becoming the next pandemic.
This video is from The Last American Vagabond channel on Brighteon.com.
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