Prioritize investigation of monkey smallpox outbreaks outside Africa

2022/06/01 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

The articulists have taken into account not only scientific but also social priorities. - Ed.

Since it was first known that the monkey pox virus infected men, so many people have never been contaminated outside the endemic area of the virus, i.e. West Africa and the Congo Canyon. This has aroused concern and a group of researchers has identified scientific and social priorities for investigating the phenomenon in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The articulists are from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Nigeria, Congo and Denmark, and state that the situation requires addressing the Single Health Strategy as soon as possible, i.e. taking care of the health of the environment and animals to take care of human health.

It should also be clarified whether smallpox was already spreading in Europe from person to person. Because the current cases have nothing to do with Africa. They consider it necessary to clarify whether the transmission or virulence characteristics of the virus have changed. However, they have recalled that it is a DNA virus, so it is more stable than RNA viruses. In addition, genetic studies have shown that Africa is similar to the Western variant (more benign than the other variant).

They find it regrettable that so much emphasis has been placed on the spread of sex with men. They consider this to be a stigma and warn of the harms that this entails. Therefore, they have prioritized communication care to be fair and non-stigmatizing, community-oriented and prevention-oriented. And remember that for prevention and case detection to be effective, communication has to be both ways.

They also highlight that the majority of those affected are between 20 and 50 years old. They are no longer vaccinated against smallpox, so they do not have the cross-immunity provided by this vaccine. Those who have had direct contact with the infected can now be inserted and there is an antivirus (tecovirimat). They consider it important to define the uses of the vaccine and treatment and ensure that they reach all those who need it.

On the other hand, the monkey pox virus reaches one through rodents or other people. Knowing this dynamic well is fundamental, according to researchers. Also the protection of health workers.

In short, they believe that these latest manifestations of monkey smallpox have highlighted the need to maintain a global and strong system of guard and response. They therefore consider their economic and political support essential.


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