Like the West Nile virus, which spread to the wild mosquito population twenty years ago, the monkey smallpox could become endemic in the United States, the expert warns.
Dr. Bobby Pritt, a pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, told DailyMail.com that the main similarity between the diseases is that they both spread under the radar.
However, he said, it is much easier to fight smallpox because it is often “unwanted” through sexually transmitted infections and other mosquitoes.
The West Nile virus (WNV) became endemic a year after its arrival in the United States and is now the leading cause of mosquito-borne diseases in the country – causing tens of thousands of cases each year.
About eight out of ten people infected with the virus have no symptoms, but one-fifth suffer from fever, headache, and vomiting, and one in 150 suffer from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. Every 12 months, about 70 deaths are due to the disease.
European health officials have warned that smallpox could spread to other animal populations, but the risk remains “very low.” The tropical disease was at risk of infecting more than 40 regional dogs in 2003, but the epidemic was eventually eradicated.
Note that the United States registered 28 more cases of smallpox this weekend, and 23 states in June and Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Indiana and Missouri were the last states to diagnose the disease this weekend. The death toll now stands at 142, but no deaths have been reported in the United States or other countries.
The map above shows the states where monkeys (smallpox) were and still are present in the current epidemic, the total number of cases of monkeys per week (left) and the states (right).
The map above shows that the West Nile virus has been detected this year. The incidence rate is 100,000 people. Hawaii has not yet reported his illness
The map above shows the countries where the West Nile virus has been registered in humans (dark green) and other animals (light green) since 2021. It shows that the virus is now present in all states of the country. Hawaii has not yet reported the number of its cases
Warning that smallpox could spread to the United States as well as WNV, Pritt said, “I’m afraid to say that smallpox is endemic, but it has that potential.”
“However, it will be easier to prevent the spread of monkey disease.
“They have completely different types of infections. WNV spreads through mosquito bites and doesn’t really separate at all. However, smallpox is most commonly transmitted sexually, especially among males who have sex, but it can also reach other populations.
What is West Nile virus? What are the warning signs? Is there a cure?
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can be transmitted from birds.
It was discovered in Uganda in the 1930’s and is now found on almost every continent in the world. He arrived in the United States in 1999 and was probably sent from the Middle East.
The disease now affects thousands of cases every year, but most go unnoticed because there are no symptoms in every eighth.
Infected people usually do not show symptoms until 3-14 days.
People with warning signs experience flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, and headaches.
About one in 50 cases is severe, but they can cause coma, tremors, and paralysis.
About one in 150 patients suffers from encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which is life-threatening.
There is no specific treatment for patients with West Nile virus, but critically ill patients are hospitalized for close monitoring.
People with mild illness are advised to take over-the-counter painkillers to reduce fever and other symptoms.
About 70 people die each year in the United States.
“It can be stopped through safe sex.
“It’s more likely to be stopped than WNV. With WNV, it can really be stopped by using insect repellent.”
U.S. health officials took about two weeks to diagnose the first case of monkey disease in Massachusetts after standard tampons failed to detect other infections. They decided to test the patient for the tropical virus only after noticing warnings from Europe, led by Britain.
For comparison, the WNV epidemic was observed in late August in New York after eight previously healthy people living 16 miles apart were diagnosed with encephalitis.
Tropical disease first became known in decades after it was first observed in 1937 in the West Nile region of northern Uganda.
Since then, it has appeared in several other countries on the continent, in parts of Asia, and even in Romania and Europe.
The disease came to the United States in 1999, probably with cargo from the Middle East – an epidemic in Israel at the time. It is not known whether it came from geese or other birds, or from mosquitoes that landed on the ship.
When health officials noticed the recommendations in Queens in late August, they doubted their availability. Many birds have also been found to be infected with the deadly virus.
WNV is transmitted to humans and birds by mosquitoes, and once the insects have transmitted the disease from another infected animal, it can become a weak bird.
The following year, they identified another outbreak, and within three years, it had been registered in 44 states.
It also caused a major epidemic in 2002, when a total of 4,100 cases were identified, including more than 2,000 people infected with encephalitis. 284 people were also killed.
But Pritt said that since many people infected with the virus have no symptoms, the real story could be tens of thousands.
Other experts have warned that WNV will mimic the appearance of smallpox in the country.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins in Maryland, told CNN earlier: “He was able to establish himself by inseminating mosquito populations and … bird populations.”
But he also warned that this was far from the inevitable outcome for smallpox, and warned that “2003 was a good opportunity for him to be,” but that didn’t happen.
Monkeys from West Africa were first observed in Europe in May, and there have been cases of unsafe sex at mass gatherings in Spain and Belgium.
It was then detected in a man who had recently returned to Canada from the United States a few weeks later, but the World Health Organization said it could have spread several years ago.
Officials are urging gay and bisexual men to be aware of new sores, rashes or scabies and to contact a sexual health clinic.
Chronology of cases of monkey smallpox in the United States
April 2003: A total of 47 people have been found to be infected after contact with animals.
This was due to the transport of 800 rodents, including squirrels, from Ghana to Texas. Some of the infected animals were evacuated to Illinois and placed next to Prairie dogs. They transmitted the virus to these animals, which they passed on to humans when they returned home.
July 2021: A Texas man has been diagnosed with a monkey disease after returning to the United States from Nigeria.
A total of 200 people were tested for the infection, but no symptoms were observed after 21 days.
November 2021: A man who returned to Maryland from Nigeria has tested positive for the virus. They did not infect others.
May 2022: A man returning to Massachusetts from Canada has been diagnosed with the virus.
Another case is currently under investigation in New York.
Most infections are observed among gay and bisexual men and are related to international travel, including to Europe.
However, there is now an increase in cases not related to other infections or international travel, which means that the virus is spreading under the radar in the country.
Following the registration of the first suspected case of smallpox in Jersey City, New Jersey yesterday, the sample is being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
The patient was told to be isolated from the house, and now the search for contact is underway.
They said on Instagram: “The NJ Department of Health has confirmed the first case of monkey disease in Jersey. Our health workers work closely with the CDC.
“The local health department is looking for contacts to identify people who may be in contact with this person.
“Most New Jersey residents are not at risk of contracting monkeys.”
Globally, the CDC counts a total of 2,525 cases in 37 individual countries, with the UK leading with 574, followed by Spain with 497 confirmed cases.
The medical literature suggests that people with smallpox may develop flu-like symptoms within the first 21 days after being infected with the virus, and that rashes may appear on the face and spread to other parts of the body.
However, this is rare in the current epidemic, and instead patients develop rashes on the genitals before flu-like symptoms.
Dr Rochelle Valensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said:
“Everything we’ve seen so far has been directly related.”