A recent study reveals that, in the past, the monkeypox virus could only be transmitted from rodents to humans, but it can now spread among people.
Researchers are expressing concerns regarding the evolving nature of the monkeypox virus and its outbreak management.
Historically, the initial cases of monkeypox in humans were documented in the 1970s.
In recently peer-reviewed research, the authors highlight that the virus has undergone 42 genetic substitutions within a relatively short period of three to four years, a surprisingly high number.
In March 2022, a global outbreak of human monkeypox occurred, although it received less attention than the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authors point out that monkeypox has been spreading extensively across Europe and, subsequently, worldwide.
It is now estimated that the monkeypox virus has been circulating among humans since 2016, underscoring the urgent need for an updated approach to its viral management.
The monkeypox virus is undergoing genetic changes and branching into new lineages due to ongoing interactions with the human immune system, which marks a departure from its previous status as solely a zoonotic disease.
According to the study’s authors, the sustained transmission of monkeypox virus represents a significant shift in how we understand its epidemiology, moving away from the traditional view of it as a disease primarily transmitted from animals to humans. They emphasize the necessity of updating public health messaging, as well as outbreak management and control strategies, in light of these developments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes monkeypox as an infectious disease that can lead to symptoms like a painful rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever.
Monkeypox can be contracted by anyone who has come into contact with an infected individual through activities such as touching, kissing, or engaging in sexual intercourse.
Even handling contaminated bedding and clothing carries the risk of monkeypox infection.
Symptoms of monkeypox encompass:
- Skin rash
- Elevated body temperature
- Sore throat
- Muscle pains
- Back discomfort
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Lesions on the skin of the palms, soles of the feet, face, mouth, throat, groin, genital areas, and anus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially confirmed a global monkeypox outbreak that occurred from 2022 to 2023.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the designation of the worldwide monkeypox outbreak as a matter of international public health concern on July 23, 2022.
The WHO emphasized the ongoing importance of surveillance, diagnostics, risk communication, and community involvement in halting the outbreak and eradicating the transmission of monkeypox from person to person in all settings.
The research study was published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science on November 2, 2023.
This information comes from a new study and is reported by Chanelle Georgina, a Senior Health Reporter based in London, who has been covering health issues since 2020.