Study: Travel-Related Monkeypox Outbreaks in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic: Are We Prepared? Image Credit: Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock.com

Fighting monkeypox during COVID-19

in a recent viruses study, scientists from James Cook University, Australia, describe the global prevalence and significance of the current monkeypox virus outbreak.

Study: Travel-related monkeypox outbreaks in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic: are we prepared? Image Credit: Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock.com

Monkeypox Virus Discovery

Monkeypox virus is a rare zoonotic virus that causes smallpox-like symptoms in humans. The virus was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa.

Shortly after the outbreaks of monkeypox infections were reported in Nigeria in 2017, several cases of monkeypox attributed to travel-related transmission were discovered outside of Africa. All told, 49, 47, eight, 34 and 21 sporadic monkey pox cases were reported in Nigeria in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The current monkeypox outbreak

The first outbreak of monkeypox infection outside of Africa was identified in the US in 2003. After that, no confirmed cases outside Africa were discovered until 2018. A total of 11 travel-related monkeypox cases were identified in the UK between 2018 and 2022, Singapore, Israel and the US

Since April 2022, several countries across Europe as well as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States have reported outbreaks of monkeypox infection. While these cases do not appear to be directly related to travel from endemic regions, the first imported case in any country was from Nigeria.

As of June 16, 2022, more than 1,300 cases of monkeypox infection were reported in 28 different countries around the world. Since the discovery of the monkeypox infection in 1970, this is the largest number of cases ever reported outside of Africa.

Geographical distribution of the ongoing monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreaks.  MPXV-endemic countries have had sporadic epidemics since 2017.  Nigeria (15), Cameroon (3), Central African Republic (8), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1238), Sierra Leone (0).  Note: Non-endemic countries: Argentina (AR), Australia (AU), Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Canada (CA), Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Finland (FI), France (FR ), Germany (DE), Ireland (IE), Israel (IL), Italy (IT), Malta (MT), Mexico (MX), Netherlands (NL), Portugal (PT), Slovenia (SI), Spain (ES ), Sweden (SE), Switzerland (CH), United Arab Emirates (AE), UK (GB), USA (US).  Endemic countries: Cameroon (CM), Central African Republic (CF), Democratic Republic of Congo (CD), Liberia (LR), Nigeria (NG), Republic of Congo (CG) and Sierra Leone (SL).Geographical distribution of the ongoing monkeypox virus (MPXV) outbreaks. MPXV-endemic countries have had sporadic epidemics since 2017. Nigeria (15), Cameroon (3), Central African Republic (8), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1238), Sierra Leone (0). Note: Non-endemic countries: Argentina (AR), Australia (AU), Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Canada (CA), Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Finland (FI), France (FR ), Germany (DE), Ireland (IE), Israel (IL), Italy (IT), Malta (MT), Mexico (MX), Netherlands (NL), Portugal (PT), Slovenia (SI), Spain (ES ), Sweden (SE), Switzerland (CH), United Arab Emirates (AE), UK (GB), USA (US). Endemic countries: Cameroon (CM), Central African Republic (CF), Democratic Republic of Congo (CD), Liberia (LR), Nigeria (NG), Republic of Congo (CG) and Sierra Leone (SL).

Genome sequencing of identified monkeypox cases

During the 2017 and 2018 outbreaks, genomic analysis of ten monkeypox-positive samples was performed to better understand its origin. In particular, five local cases from Nigeria, four exported cases from the UK, Singapore and Israel, as well as one hospital-related transmission case within the UK were subjected to genomic analysis.

The findings of the genomic analysis indicated that the exported cases were associated with the West African clade. In addition, these cases had a common ancestor with a local case in Nigeria with a travel history to three Nigerian states of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers State.

In comparison, the genomic analysis conducted in multiple countries during the current outbreak indicates that the circulating monkeypox strain belongs to the West African group. In addition, this species is closely related to the species exported from Nigeria during the 2018 and 2019 outbreaks.

The monkeypox cases isolated during the current outbreak have no travel history to endemic regions and, as a result, are not epidemiologically linked to West or Central Africa. This indicates that monkeypox infection has become topical and community transmission of the infection is now possible in non-endemic regions.

Impact of COVID-19 on monkeypox outbreak

The first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was discovered in Nigeria in March 2020. Given the severity of COVID-19, researchers and public health agencies around the world have focused on monitoring the spread of COVID-19.

Despite the need for these measures to mitigate the current pandemic, this hyperfixation of COVID-19 is leading to a lack of surveillance and monitoring of monkeypox cases in Nigeria. In addition, the number of people seeking medical attention for monkeypox infection has also dropped significantly due to fears of contracting COVID-19. Together, these factors have increased the prevalence and risk of monkeypox worldwide.

As most countries are now easing COVID-19-related restrictions, increasing cases of monkeypox are becoming a global health concern. Some of the factors that may increase the risk of monkeypox outbreaks include decreasing cross-protection from smallpox vaccines, increased exposure to wildlife and consumption of animal meat, as well as a lack of knowledge and information about monkeypox.

How to prevent a monkeypox outbreak?

To contain the current outbreak, monkeypox virus has been included in Nigeria’s Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSR). Nevertheless, extension of current monitoring and detection protocols is required in both endemic and non-endemic countries.

To date, there is no treatment available for monkeypox infection. Therefore, the JYNNEOS vaccine currently approved in the United States for monkeypox and smallpox should be used worldwide as a preventative measure, especially in high-risk populations.[if–>

#Fighting #monkeypox #COVID19

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *