In recent weeks, several cases of aphids have been discovered in Western Europe and North America. The disease was first discovered in the UK
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In recent days it has been monitored in Spain, Canada, USA, Portugal and Sweden. The spread of the disease in some countries raises concern among global health authorities, for fear of a scenario in which the virus begins to spread among humans even outside its natural areas of spread.
Monkey pox, a viral disease prevalent mainly in central and western Africa, causes blisters all over the body. The pathogen is a virus that was first discovered in monkeys, although they are not its main host. Generally, when the disease is detected in western countries, it comes from Africa. He even “crossed” the country in 2018 with someone returning from Nigeria.
The aphid virus got its name after an outbreak of the disease in 1958, in which it was transmitted to humans by laboratory monkeys at a facility in Copenhagen. Another outbreak was identified in the United States in 2003 and also started in animals, where various rodents imported from Africa infected predatory dogs. Wild dogs and large land squirrels living in North America were sold as pets. Owners were then infected directly, through bites or scratches, or as a result of touching feces while cleaning the cage.
The virus infects mammals, including humans. This virus belongs to the Orthopox family, which also includes cow and smallpox. The virus has two known variants, Central African and West African, the former usually causing more severe diseases. The virus identified in Europe is of the less aggressive type.
The virus is transmitted by contact with body fluids, especially saliva, at large droplets released into the air. It penetrates body holes, mucous tissue and wounds – including small incisions in the skin that we do not even know exist. The symptoms of the disease are reminiscent of those of black boxwood, which died in the late 1970s. So cases of monkeypox in the past were mistakenly diagnosed as smallpox.
The virus attacks the cells of the immune system and after an incubation period of several days characteristic blisters appear, accompanied by high fever, chills, headache and other inflammatory symptoms. Despite phylogenetic and mechanical similarities between diseases, apes are considered less deadly. Although there are results showing a significant mortality rate, which can be up to 10 percent, of the most virulent species in Africa, due to its rarity, it is difficult to determine its severity in advanced medical countries. . It is likely to be much less than that, except for the fact that this time we are talking about the second, less dangerous variable.
Studies at the end of the last century showed that the smallpox vaccine was also effective against other viruses of the same family, including monkeypox. In fact, the vaccine itself is based on another virus of the same family, which causes only mild diseases in humans. In the past, it was considered one of the routine vaccines given to children worldwide. Today, the vaccine is no longer given because it is no longer needed – instead, for example, its use was discontinued about twenty years ago.
However, the protection provided by the vaccine against infection expires within a few years, so previously vaccinated populations and those born after the eradication of smallpox are not protected. In the UK, vaccinations were started for people who had contact with people infected with monkey pox, with the aim of cutting off the chain of infection from the beginning and collecting vaccines for fear of spreading the disease.
Is there anything to worry about?
Currently, there is no real reason for concern. The number of patients observed so far is very low – only a few dozen verified patients or suspected cases across Europe and North America. It is now likely that more active cases will be detected once active disease surveillance begins. According to one hypothesis, the spread time is related to the resumption of global tourism after the removal of the corona restrictions in most countries.
It is contagious when you are in close contact with a person, or when you come in contact with bladders, body fluids or contaminated surfaces, such as clothing. The symptoms of the disease are very obvious, especially the acne that is characterized by it, so unlike other viral diseases like coronary, it is easy to identify and isolate the person with the disease. However, patients transmit the disease as they begin to develop mild symptoms, even before blisters appear, and some patients have no symptoms at all. The fact that patients were detected in several places at the same time may indicate a very pessimistic scenario, that a change in the virus has occurred and has improved its ability to be transmitted from one person to another, so there is concern about transmission of infection between people and thus in a secret outbreak of disease between people.
Close monitoring of disease spread and rapid cessation of infection chains, along with maintaining hygiene, can reduce the risk of disease spread. If broader action is needed, God forbid, there is an effective and safe vaccine, even if it is not without side effects, as billions of people have had it in the past and it has been a great success. When necessary, there will be no difficulty in producing and distributing it at all blast points.
To date, a large proportion of patients are young men, some of whom are men who have sex with other men. It is possible that the relatively high incidence of the disease in this particular group is related to the lifestyle of some patients, as the virus can be transmitted from person to person through sexual or intimate contact, which involves prolonged skin contact and exposure to saliva. It is worth expecting additional results, especially since it is a well-known virus that comes from a family of viruses that have killed millions of people throughout history, but have not yet spread widely.
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