Monkey smallpox: What do we know about the smallpox-like virus detected in the UK?

Health officials in the United Kingdom have confirmed that a man who recently flew in from Nigeria has contracted smallpox, a rare viral infection caused by smallpox.

The British Public Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said on Saturday that the patient was being treated in the isolation ward of Guy and St. Thomas Infectious Diseases Hospital in London.

The UKHSA did not provide any information on the person’s gender or age, but said it was working to identify all those who had been in close contact with the infected patient, including those traveling on the same flight.

What are the symptoms of monkey smallpox?

A relative of smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980, but is less contagious, causes milder symptoms and is not fatal.

The disease usually lasts two to four weeks and symptoms can appear five to 21 days after infection.

Symptoms of smallpox in monkeys usually begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.

This last symptom usually helps doctors differentiate between smallpox or smallpox in monkeys. According to the World Health Organization (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION).

When the body temperature rises, the unpleasant rash that is the main feature of smallpox appears after one or three days, usually starting on the surface and spreading to other parts of the body.

The number of wounds can range from several thousand to thousands.

The lesions undergo a process of ugly maturation, passing from the macula (flat wounds) to the papules (raised wounds), vesicles (fluid-filled wounds), then to the pustules (pus-filled wounds), and finally to the membranes (crusted wounds) until they collapse. Off.

Why is monkey called smallpox?

The monkey smallpox virus belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae. It was first discovered in 1958 when laboratory monkeys had two outbreaks of smallpox.

However, monkeys are not to blame for the epidemic, and the natural reservoir of smallpox remains unknown, but the WHO believes rodents are the most likely.

“Evidence of the transmission of the smallpox virus in Africa has been found in many animals, including ropes, trees, Gambian poacher rats, hostels, and various species of monkeys,” said the United Nations World Health Organization.

Where are monkeys found?

Human apes are primarily found in tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa and are not common in Europe.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), smallpox was first reported in 1970.

Since then, cases have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, C Кte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first outbreak of smallpox outside Africa was in 2003 due to the import of infected mammals into the United States.

Recently, two travelers from the United Kingdom with a travel history in Nigeria in 2018 and 2019, and one from Israel and Singapore, were diagnosed with smallpox, according to the European Health Agency, a European private agency. Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC),

How do you catch monkeys?

The virus can be transmitted from the bite or scratch of an infected animal, from eating bushes, from direct contact with an infected person, or from touching contaminated bedding or clothing.

The virus enters the body through skin ulcers, respiratory tract or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth).

Human-to-human transmission is thought to be mainly through large droplets in the respiratory tract, which usually cannot travel more than a few feet, so a face-to-face contact is required.

Should I worry?

Monkey smallpox is “usually a mild self-limiting disease and most people recover within a few weeks,” the UKHSA said in a statement confirming the case.

Dr. Colin Brown, the agency’s director for clinical and emerging infections, said: “It is important to emphasize that smallpox is not easily spread among humans and that the risk to the general public is very low.”

Although its symptoms are milder than those of smallpox, according to the WHO, monkeys cause death in 11 percent of patients with smallpox, and about 30 percent against smallpox.

Mortality is high among children and young people, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable.

treatment and prevention

There is currently no specific treatment recommended for monkey smallpox and it usually goes away on its own.

The smallpox vaccine is believed to be very effective in preventing monkeys, but first-generation smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public because they were declared eradicated more than 40 years ago.

The new vaccine, developed by Bavarian Nordic to prevent smallpox and monkeys, has been approved in the European Union, the United States and Canada (under the trade names Imvanex, Jynneos and Imvamune) and antiviral drugs are also being developed.


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