Is it a new disease?
Monkeypox is not a new disease. The first case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a 9-month-old child. However, this disease has always only prevailed on the African continent. In the past, there has been only one case of outbreak of this virus in the West recorded. It took place in the United States in 2003, and traceback studies have concluded that the likely source of infection was the shipment of wild rodents from Ghana to the U.S.
Recently, the first case of monkeypox was recorded in the United Kingdom, detected on May 7, 2022 in an individual who had previously traveled to Nigeria. Whereas the first fatal case of monkeypox this year was recorded on May 30, 2022, in Nigeria.
Is it very contagious?
It is not a very contagious disease, compared to COVID-19, for example. At least for the moment. The ways of getting infected vary from contact with surfaces that were touched by the infected person (so the disinfection measures that we have been perfecting during the pandemic will come in handy) to close physical contact (enough to exchange bodily fluids, e.g. saliva or genital fluids). genitals). To date, all recorded cases of transmission have been through sexual contact.
People who have characteristic rashes of this virus on their bodies are contagious, but people who have not yet shown any symptoms can also be contagious, and this is potentially more dangerous and problematic.
What are the symptoms?
Who are the people at risk?
Is it going to become more contagious and more dangerous with time?
Scientists can only speculate at the moment. Some say that with each infection the virus becomes less aggressive and less contagious, and others fear that it could mutate and become much more aggressive. At the moment, there have been too few cases to say anything with certainty.
Monkeypox can pose a potential danger to the population, because many people are not vaccinated for smallpox; those who are have been vaccinated before 1982, and immunity wanes over time.
According to statistics, the disease has a mortality rate of 3-6%, and this rate is lower among vaccinated people. However, we should keep in mind that almost all of the monkeypox outbreaks have been in Africa where fewer health resources are available to people. So it is very likely that in the case of spread of the disease, the mortality rate will not be as elevated.
Governments are already purchasing smallpox vaccines to administer to those at high risk of complications due to compromising health conditions and those who may have been in contact with an infected person.
Medics continue to say that the risk of the disease spreading remains low. Furthermore, the transmission of monkeypox can be prevented with basic safety measures that we are unfortunately already used to.