Opinion |: Monkeypox is very similar to Covid. But do not panic.

It seems that we can not get rid of infectious diseases. It: Covid-19 pandemic continues, երրորդ one third of Americans live in areas where the spread of the virus is currently so high that they should think once more about wearing masks at home. Infected with H5N1 bird flu virus A number of poultry populations across the United States have killed nearly 38 million birds to reduce their prevalence. And now close 100 suspected cases of chickenpox in humans were found in at least 10 countries Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, and Sweden are all worried that the outbreak could signal a second epidemic.

An animal virus spreads in the human population, which appears overnight in many countries.

Of course, some news is reported It is alarmingly similar to what we heard in early 2020. An animal virus spreads in the human population, which appears overnight in many countries. To the best of our knowledge, there is evidence of how the virus jumped from species from animal reservoirs to the first humans to be infected. We try to unite how it has moved from person to person, from contact to contact, from continent to continent.

But monkeys are not SARS-CoV-2. We have decades of understanding of the virus, և most importantly, we have existing vaccines և treatments that we can use to help curb the outbreak. That means we do not start from scratch.

But a little background on the monkey can be helpful, as even the name is a bit misleading. Monkeypox is a chickenpox virus that belongs to the same family as the now extinct human plague, chickenpox. But like other animal poxviruses, when monkey chickenpox infects humans, it is milder than chickenpox and more difficult to transmit to humans. It was first recognized by humans in 1970. Because its symptoms were very similar to those of chickenpox, the distinction between the two viral diseases became important, and scientists began to expand their studies of chickenpox.

Like chickenpox և SARS-CoV-2, like chickenpox Respiratory virus which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or potentially direct breathing. The virus has been detected throughout parts of central and western Africa. Nigeria: was a hotspot of human affairs in the last five years, with some evidence of human-to-human transmission. There are two distinct types of chickenpox viruses: West and Central Africa viruses, along with the former It is considered to cause less serious illness in humans. The current situation seems to be milder West African “Cloud” (type).

The name comes from infections of non-human primate species that have a blister rash that resembles human infections. Because these animals can be severely infected, they are probably not a “reservoir” or host. Reservoir species spread the pathogen, but as a rule, they do not suffer from acute damage. Most likely hosts include several species of African rodents that can carry և spread the virus without obvious symptoms.

Unidentified monkeypox in some of these rodents led to the first outbreak of chickenpox in the United States in 2003, the first such outbreak outside Africa. In the spring of 2003, not far from the 9/11 attacks further anthrax attacks which left a long-lasting ghost of chickenpox-like rash of bio-war reported to doctors and then to local public health bodies in the Middle East. in July 71 cases were revealed in six states (Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas և Ohio). After interviewing patients (և / or their parents), as some of the infected were children, it was found that the most common infection was recently purchased stray dogs.

Investigators found the steppe dogs, which were kept next to exotic rodents imported from Ghana (West Africa). Some of these rodents, including giant Gambian rats, living room squirrels, and rope squirrels, were positive. Thus, African rodents probably spread the virus to steppe dogs, from where it was transmitted to human caregivers.

After interviewing the patients, it was revealed that the general discovery was recently purchased from domestic stray dogs.

At present, cases of chickenpox documented in different countries are not epidemiologically related, ie, the cases found so far do not have an obvious common denominator (for example, they spent time at the same airport, traveling around the world, visited the same: concert or have a clear transmission chain). But public health agencies are still gathering information about all the places where the incidents could have happened, the infections they may have in common, and who they came in contact with during their incubation period.

This process should now be familiar from our Covid response years. Contact tracing is an effective way to slow the spread of PoxVirus because: contacts can be vaccinated even after infection. (You can get vaccinated against Covid after infection, but it does not seem to work as well, as the incubation period is much shorter than for a monkey virus).

Better news. Although monkey and chickenpox viruses are different, they are quite similar in that the human chickenpox vaccine (which uses a third poxvirus called vaccinia) protects against both. Individuals who have been exposed to the person who spreads monkeypox can be vaccinated after this infection;ring vaccine»: This creates “links” of immunity around each case, limiting the possible spread of the virus.

In the US, We stopped the regular chickenpox vaccine in 1972, due to the risk of side effects, which outweighs the risk of the virus. (America has not had a chickenpox epidemic since 1949.) The vaccine is still used in the military by scientists working with poxviruses. And we maintain a stockpile of chickenpox vaccineTherefore, vaccination or, if necessary, community-wide vaccination campaigns can be carried out quickly in case of infection.

In addition to strong monkey vaccination strategies, we have a few Antiviral drugs which can help heal those who are already infected. Immunoglobulin can also be used against monkeys or its effectiveness is uncertain.

Current outbreaks are worrisome, primarily because we rarely see extended chains of human-to-human distribution of monkey chickenpox. There are many unknowns. Did the virus develop in such a way that it spreads more easily to humans, more like its aunt? Has a declining population immunity to poxviruses Was monkeying allowed?

This is the first time in the recent history of mankind that such a large percentage of the population is not immune to these viruses. For centuries, people have acquired immunity to chickenpox through infection, vaccination, or immunizations. Community immunizations were discontinued after the virus was eradicated in 1980, and there were fears that discontinuation of routine chickenpox vaccines could result. enabled the appearance of chickenpox.

That is, the current flare-up is unlikely to signal, but we must be vigilant, prepared, quick and agile in our response. The past two years have shown us that anything is possible.

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