Diseases & Medicine

Risk of monkeypox to public “extremely low”: Expert

Scientists are very concerned about recent outbreaks of monkeypox in the United States and around the world.

Scientists are very concerned about recent outbreaks of monkeypox in the United States and around the world. However, the risk of monkeypox to the general public is currently “very minimal,” and there is “no need for alarm,” according to a leading epidemiologist.

“While we need to get to the bottom of this and figure out what’s going on, a huge breakout or pandemic of monkeypox is quite unlikely.” In a recent interview with Xinhua, Daniel Bausch, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said, “These will likely continue as tiny clusters in defined geographic areas.”

Scientists from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are working together to investigate a U.S. resident who tested positive for monkeypox on May 18 after returning from Canada.

One patient in New York City (NYC) has tested positive for orthopoxvirus, the virus family that includes monkeypox, according to a news release issued by NYC health officials on Friday.

According to the announcement, the case is being classified as a “presumptive positive” case until verified by CDC testing, and the patient is now isolating.

As global infections continue to grow, Florida health officials are investigating a “presumed” monkeypox case, making it the third probable case in the country.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the case is being investigated in Broward County and appears to be linked to overseas travel.

Multiple clusters of monkeypox were recorded in early to mid-May in numerous areas that do not regularly report monkeypox, including Europe and North America, according to the CDC.

“This outbreak concerns scientists and public health officials since the epidemiology is unlike anything we’ve seen previously,” Bausch told Xinhua.

According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that starts with flu-like symptoms and lymph node enlargement and spreads to a widespread rash on the face and body.

After more than 40 years of no confirmed cases, monkeypox resurfaced in Nigeria in 2017. Since then, more than 450 cases have been reported in Nigeria, with at least eight cases confirmed to have been transported worldwide.

Monkeypox is indigenous to West and Central Africa, where it can be found in the wild in small mammals such as rats. According to Bausch, who is also a professor of Tropical Medicine at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, sporadic cases have been identified, especially in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Travelers exposed in Africa or, in one major outbreak in the United States in 2003, infected rodents imported from Ghana, cause infections outside of Africa.

“What makes the current scenario unique is that we have confirmed instances in multiple nations across two continents — Europe and North America. Second, we still don’t know how these patients got infected,” Bausch said.

According to Bausch, there is no evident link to travel to Africa because most or all of the documented cases did not travel there, nor is there any obvious link to exported animals.

Scientists are still piecing together the puzzle, according to Bausch, who believes it may be linked to a mass gathering in which one infected individual in or coming from Africa infects a large number of others, who then return home and start transmission chains there.

In contrast to COVID-19, monkeypox virus is only spread between humans through direct contact with lesions or through items such as clothing or bedding used by the sufferer, as well as through respiratory droplets during the illness, according to Bausch.

He added that the sickness is not easily transmitted and that it usually requires lengthy exposure.

“There’s no need to be concerned,” Bausch added. He explained that the risk to the normal individual is extremely minimal unless they have had direct contact with someone who has the disease or have traveled to Africa and been exposed to rodents and their excrement in rural areas.

According to the CDC, there is currently no known, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. Smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin can be utilized to suppress a monkeypox outbreak in the United States, according to the CDC.

According to Bausch, vaccines produced for smallpox appear to be successful in preventing monkeypox as well. “However, this vaccination is not widely available, neither on the free market nor in general distribution.”

On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor to US President Joe Biden, informed reporters that the US has vaccines “ready to deploy.”

“At this time, the vaccination would only be prescribed for high-risk contacts, such as healthcare workers who did not take sufficient precautions, comparable to the COVID vaccine,” Bausch told Xinhua.

He stated that the vaccine is not recommended for the general public.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging healthcare providers across the country to be on the lookout for patients with rash illnesses that are consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have traveled or have specific risk factors for monkeypox, and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

All those who have had direct contact with someone who has monkeypox should be observed, according to Bausch, who recommends isolating them at home until the incubation period is gone.

As of May 21, the World Health Organization reported 92 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox with investigations underway from 12 countries not endemic for the virus.

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