Some of the country’s top disease experts warned that: monkeypox three years ago would fill the void left by smallpox three years ago has emerged.
Scientists from leading institutions, including the University of Cambridge and the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine argued that the viral disease would evolve to fill the “niche” left after smallpox was eradicated.
It comes as it has been revealed that a child is in hospital among the 20 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.
The rare viral infection that people usually pick up in the tropical regions of West and Central Africa can be transmitted through very close contact with an infected person.
Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering without treatment within a few weeks.
Still, the disease can be deadly with the strain causing the current outbreak, killing one in 100 infected.
The country’s top disease experts warned that monkeypox would fill the void left by smallpox three years ago, it has emerged. Pictured: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the experts attended a seminar in London in 2019 and discussed the need to develop ‘a new generation of vaccines and treatments’.
It was heard at the seminar that when smallpox was eradicated in 1980, vaccinations against smallpox were discontinued and as a result, up to 70 percent of the world’s population is no longer protected against smallpox.
As a result, they are no longer protected against other viruses from the same family, such as monkey pox.
The scientists pointed to recent outbreaks of monkeypox in 2003 and more recently in 2018 and 2019 as evidence that monkeypox was on the rise again.
Their discussion was published in 2020 in the journal Vaccine and concluded that ‘these facts give rise to speculation that emerging or re-emerging human monkeypox may fill the epidemiological niche vacated by smallpox’.
The monkeypox outbreak in Britain has continued to rise and the number of cases has doubled overnight on Friday, while the World Health Organization said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as surveillance expands in countries where the disease is typically not found.
Physicians are advised to remain vigilant for patients who have skin rashes or scabby lesions
Sajid Javid revealed yesterday that an additional 11 Britons had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to 20.
The Health Minister said: ‘UKHSA has confirmed 11 new cases of monkey pox in the UK. This morning I informed the health ministers of the G7 about what we know so far.
“Most cases are mild and I can confirm that we have received new doses of vaccines that are effective against monkey pox.”
No details have yet been released about the new 11 patients.
But six of the previous nine confirmed cases were in men who have sex with men — which officials say is “highly suggestive of spreading in sexual networks.”
According to the Sunday Telegraph, a young child is one of 20 patients currently being treated in the UK.
The newspaper reports that the child is currently being treated in intensive care at a London hospital.
Yesterday, a UK top doctor predicted a ‘significant rise’ in monkey pox cases in the UK in the coming weeks as the country registered 20 cases – and more than 100 found in Europe.
The disease, first found in monkeys, can be passed from person to person through close physical contact — as well as sexual intercourse — and is caused by the monkey pox virus.
dr. Claire Dewsnap, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, is concerned about the rate at which the virus is spreading.
She said Sky News that she expects a ‘significant’ increase in the number of infections next week.
“What worries me most is that there are infections all over Europe, so this has already spread,” she said. “It’s already circulating in the general population… It could be really significant numbers in the next two or three weeks.”
She also warned that the virus could have a “huge impact” on access to sexual health services in Britain.
The UK Health Security Agency has said a remarkable proportion of recent cases in Britain and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men.
Meanwhile, Professor Sir Peter Horby, director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford, described the current monkeypox outbreak as “an unusual situation” as the virus is being transmitted within communities outside Central and West Africa.
Sir Peter told BBC Radio 4: ‘It is broadcast through close personal contact and in the past we have not seen it be very contagious.
“What’s unusual about what we’re seeing now is we’re seeing community transmission in Europe and now in other countries, so it’s an unusual situation where it looks like the virus has been introduced, but now an ongoing transmission within certain communities.” .’
WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?
Monkeypox — often caught by monkey handling — is a rare viral disease that numbers say kills about 10 percent of people.
The virus responsible for the disease is mainly found in the tropical regions of West and Central Africa.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, with the first reported human case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Human cases were first recorded in the US in 2003 and the UK in September 2018.
It lives in wild animals, but humans can catch it through direct contact with animals, such as handling monkeys or eating undercooked meat.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or the eyes, nose or mouth.
It can pass between people through airborne droplets and by touching the skin of an infected person or by touching objects contaminated with it.
Symptoms usually appear within five and 21 days of infection. These include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue.
The most obvious symptom is a rash, which usually appears on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. This then forms skin lesions that crust and fall off.
Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering without treatment within a few weeks. However, the disease can often be fatal.
He added: ‘It seems there is an element of sexual transmission, perhaps with just the very close contact between people and the skin lesions, as a large proportion of current cases are detected in gay and bisexual men.
“So it’s very important that we get the message across that when people have unusual skin lesions, they seek attention quickly so that we can get this under control.”
“The most important thing is that we interrupt the transmission and this is not becoming established in the human population in Europe.”
Monkeypox is a usually mild infection, with symptoms including fever, headache, and a distinctive bumpy rash.
In Britain, authorities are offering a smallpox vaccine to health professionals and others who may have been exposed.
Spain is assessing various therapeutic options, such as antivirals and vaccines, but so far all cases have had mild symptoms and therefore no specific ad hoc treatment was needed, Spain’s health minister Carolina Darias told reporters on Friday.
The Portuguese cases remain under clinical follow-up, but none have been hospitalized as all are stable, the health authority said.
Portugal has 14 confirmed cases and 20 suspected infections. And across the Atlantic, there are two confirmed cases in Canada, with 20 suspected cases.
There have also been cases in Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Israel and Australia.
The World Health Organization said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is typically not found.
As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic to the virus, the UN agency said, adding it will provide further guidance and recommendations to countries on how to spread the virus in the coming days. can reduce. the spread of monkeypox.
“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission occurs in people in close physical contact with cases that are symptomatic,” the agency added.
“What appears to be happening now is that as a sexual form, as a genital form, it has invaded and spread the population as well as sexually transmitted infections, thus amplifying transmission around the world,” WHO official David Heymann, a specialist in infectious diseases, Reuters told Reuters.
He said close contact was the main route of transmission, as lesions typical of the disease are highly contagious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health professionals. That’s why some countries have started inoculating teams treating monkeypox patients with vaccines against smallpox, a related virus.
Many of the current cases have been diagnosed in sexual health clinics.
Early genomic sequencing of a handful of cases in Europe has suggested a resemblance to the strain spreading in limited fashion in Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018.
Heymann said it was “biologically plausible” that the virus circulated outside countries where it is endemic, but had not led to major outbreaks due to COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.
He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak was not like the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it is not so easily transmitted.
Those who suspect they may have been exposed or show symptoms, including bumpy skin rashes and fever, should avoid close contact with others, he said.
“Vaccines are available, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” he added. (Reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Akanksha Khushi; editing by Pravin Char and David Gregorio)
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