The European Health Agency warns that smallpox could become endemic there

TThe European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday assessed the risk of an unprecedented event, saying that if the current epidemic is not controlled and the virus spreads to susceptible species, there is a risk that monkeys will become endemic in Europe. .

According to the World Health Organization, if human-to-human transmission continues and the ape smallpox virus enters other species in the region, it could become entrenched, but the risk is expected to be “very low.”

“Little is known at this time about the suitability of European peri-mammalian species to serve as hosts for the ape smallpox virus,” the statement said. From humans to pets is theoretically possible. “Such an outbreak could lead to the virus appearing in European wildlife and turning the disease into an endemic zoonosis.”


According to the agency, after the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States in 2003, the health authorities of this country have been closely monitoring the cases of possible transmission of the virus to animals. However, they could not find any evidence that this happened. The 2003 epidemic was caused by infected small mammals imported from Ghana as pets — two rope slings, a Gambian rat, and three dormitories. The animals were infected by stray dogs at a nearby wholesale pet store, and stray dogs infected 47 people in six states.

So far, the virus is considered endemic only in dozens of countries in West and Central Africa, where human infections are rare. So far this year, in addition to endemic countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and Singapore have reported only a few cases of smallpox being exported.


The natural reservoir – the animal or animals that are the source of the virus – is unknown.

“If transmitted from human to animal and the virus spreads to animal populations, there is a risk that the disease will become endemic in Europe,” the ECDC said in a statement. “Thus, there should be close cross-sectoral collaboration between human and veterinary public health authorities to manage open pets and prevent the spread of the disease to the wild.”

The number of cases in the current epidemic is changing rapidly as countries seek work. On Monday, Maria Van Kerhove, head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit at the World Health Organization’s Emergency Emergency Program, said there had been less than 200 confirmed and suspected cases so far. Eleven European countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Israel and Australia, have confirmed cases.

The virus now appears to be spreading among men who have sex, but Van Kerhove warned that surveillance is currently aimed at finding cases through sexual health clinics. Extensive harassment could lead to other cases, he said, and others.

Smallpox is a smallpox virus and belongs to the variola virus that causes smallpox. The once deadly disease was declared eradicated in 1980. The symptoms of smallpox are similar to those of smallpox, but lighter than smallpox.

Infected people develop flu-like symptoms — fever, pain, chills, but swollen lymph nodes. One to three days after the onset of the fever, rashes usually appear on the face, especially rashes. Many conditions can cause rashes, but monkeys have some unusual features of smallpox, such as the appearance of vesicles on the palms of the hands. A number of people reported genital sores during the epidemic.

In countries where it is endemic, the virus is believed to be transmitted mainly from infected animals to humans when people kill or prepare shrub meat for consumption.

Once transmitted, the virus can be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets — saliva that can infect the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat, or contact with apex or body fluids. The virus enters through small pores in the skin. It can also be spread by contact with clothing or linen that has been contaminated with smallpox.

The ECDC said there could be additional cases.

“Most of the current cases are accompanied by mild symptoms of the disease and the likelihood of spreading to the general population is very low,” said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. “However, it is believed that people who have multiple sexual partners, for example, through close contact, are more likely to spread the virus during sexual intercourse.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the European Union and the European Economic Area to focus on the rapid detection, management and reporting of new cases of smallpox. Countries should also upgrade contact search engines and the ability to diagnose orthopoxiruses – a family of monkeys – and review the availability of smallpox vaccines, antivirals, and personal protective equipment for health professionals.

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