Before Covid probably the news related to a single case of smallpox outside the Italian borders it would perhaps have passed on the sly. After the pandemic, however, things changed, including the awareness of how quickly a virus spreads from one part of the world to another.
The patient tested positive for monkeypox confirmed in the UK, for example, he contracted the infection in Nigeria, but is now in a hospital in London, where he is receiving specialist treatment. This was stated by the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA).
Smallpox of monkeys: what are the risks for humans
Is called “monkeypox“, that is to say monkeypoxand although it is not easily transmitted man to manthe UK authorities have already equipped and mobilized to rebuild the positive patient’s chain of contacts.
Last year the virus was detected in China (we told you about it here), now a single case was enough to alert the entire British health system. The reason is simple, and that is: to play in advance, to prevent something from getting out of control or being underestimated.
The procedure involves contacting all of them people who have had close contact with the patient (before smallpox was confirmed), so that he could follow them, monitoring their health and providing them with all the necessary advice to prevent the virus from spreading. UKHSA and the British National Health Service have well established infection control procedures for dealing with infectious disease cases, perfected and corrected over the past two years of the pandemic, and these will be strictly followed.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
The monkeypoxe is a viral infection that shares many similarities with smallpox, but the main difference is that monkeypox causes swollen lymph nodes on the skinvisible to the naked eye.
Some most common symptomsthose preceding the more aggressive form of the infection, are similar to Covid (here how the disease has changed and how it manifests itself today).
Specifically, i “spy” symptoms of monkeypox I am:
- Muscle aches
- Excessive tiredness
- Enlarged lymph nodes
In some cases a rash may also developwhich usually begins on the face before spreading to other parts of the body, forming scabs on the skin, which once dried fall off.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first symptoms can appear between five and 21 days after contracting the infection.
How can you get monkeypox?
Health authorities explained that monkeypox can be transmitted from infected wild animals (to humans) after a bite or if there has been contact with body fluids (blood, scabs, blisters, wounds, etc.).
The Italian Ministry of Health, in 2021, after a case of smallpox had been registered in the United States, in Texas, had already explained in its circular: “Although monkeypox is considered a zoonotic disease, the fauna reservoir wild was not determined. During a 2003 human monkeypox outbreak in the United States, exposure was traced to contact with pet prairie dogs that had been housed alongside monkeypox-infected African rodents imported from Ghana. The contact with animals wild (including live animals, meat for consumption and other products), are known risk factors in enzootic countries. Prolonged contact with an infected person can also result in person-to-person transmission“.
The risk assessment analysis provided by the World Health Organization, however, clarified that: “Monkeypox is a sylvan zoonosis with accidental human infections that usually occur sporadically in wooded areas of central and western Africa. It is caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV) which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family ”. Also: “Genomic sequencing shows they are there two clades of monkeypox – Congo Basin and West Africa – consistent with the observed differences in human pathogenicity and mortality in the two geographic areas “. Both clades can be transmitted by contact and droplet exposure.
Monkey pox: recommendations and care
There monkeypox cure is symptom-based care, with supportive care and treatment of underlying conditions and complications. In some circumstances, an approved specific antiviral treatment for smallpox may be offered on a compassionate or emergency basis.
Who contracts the virus must be isolated during the infectious period, just before and during the rash stage of infection until all lesions have formed and fallen off. The timely contact trackingsurveillance measures and emerging disease awareness among health professionals are essential to effectively manage monkeypox outbreaks and prevent secondary cases.
Healthcare professionals caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox should adopt standard precautions for control of contact and droplet infections. This includes all workers such as cleaners and laundry staff who may be exposed to the patient’s care environment, bedding, towels or personal effects.
Samples from humans and animals suspected of being infected with monkeypox virus must be handled by trained personnel working in properly equipped laboratories. Based on the information available at the moment, WHO does not recommend any restrictions for The travels or trade with Nigeria or the United States (the new Covid rules remain confirmed for those leaving and arriving in Italy, here what has changed with the end of the health emergency).
Whatever illness contracted while traveling or returning however, it must be reported to a healthcare professional, including information on all recent trips and vaccination history. Residents and travelers in endemic countries should avoid contact with sick, dead or live animals that may harbor the monkeypox virus (rodents, marsupials, primates) and should refrain from eating or handling wild game (forest meat). The importance of hand hygiene using soap and water or alcohol-based disinfectants should be emphasized.
Smallpox epidemic, the epicenter of the disease and natural and vaccine immunity
Since 2017, a monkeypox outbreak has occurred in Nigeria with 218 confirmed cases to date. In addition to Nigeria, outbreaks have also been reported in nine other countries in Central and West Africa since 1970. These include:
- Central African Republic
- Ivory Coast
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Republic of the Congo
- Sierra Leone
In some of these countries, including Cameroon and the Central African Republic, small ones continue to occur outbreaks sporadic. However, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health, the vast majority of cases continue to be reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 2,780 cases and 72 deaths (CFR 2.6%) reported between January 1 and October 31, 2021.
Although a new vaccine for the prevention of monkeypox and traditional smallpox vaccine has been shown to provide protection, these vaccines are not widely available. Increased susceptibility of humans to monkeypox is thought to be related to decreased immunity due to cessation of immunization against smallpox. Contact with live and dead animals through hunting and game consumption or the use of products of animal origin is presumed to be a source of human infection.
Milder cases of monkeypox in adults may go undetected, undiagnosed, or unreported and represent a risk of human-to-human transmission. There is likely to be little immunity to infections in exposed people as the endemic disease is geographically limited to West and Central Africa and worldwide populations of age under 40 or 50 they no longer benefit from the protection afforded by previous smallpox vaccination programs.