British scientists warned that monkeypox would fill the gap left by smallpox three years ago.
Some of the country’s leading disease experts warned that monkeypox would fill the void left by smallpox three years ago, it has emerged.
Scientists from leading institutions such as the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine argued that the viral disease would evolve to fill the “niche” left after smallpox was eradicated.
It comes as it emerged that a child is in hospital among 20 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.
The rare viral infection that people often get in tropical areas of West and Central Africa can be spread by very close contact with an infected person.
Monkeypox is usually mild, and most patients recover within a few weeks without treatment.
However, the disease can prove fatal with the strain causing the current outbreak, killing one in 100 infected.
The country’s leading disease experts warned that monkeypox would fill the void left by smallpox three years ago, it has emerged. In the photo: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
According to the Sunday Telegraph, experts attended a seminar in London in 2019 and discussed how “new generation vaccines and treatments” needed to be developed.
The seminar heard that since smallpox was eradicated in 1980, there was a cessation of smallpox vaccinations and, as a result, up to 70 percent of the world’s population is no longer protected against smallpox.
This means that they are no longer protected against other viruses in the same family, such as monkeypox.
Scientists pointed to recent outbreaks of monkeypox in 2003 and more recently in 2018 and 2019 as evidence that monkeypox was making a resurgence.
Their discussion was published in the journal Vaccine in 2020 and concluded that “these facts invite speculation that the emerging or re-emerging human monkeypox could fill the epidemiological niche vacated by smallpox.”
Britain’s monkeypox outbreak has continued to rise with cases doubling overnight on Friday, while the World Health Organization said it hopes to identify more monkeypox cases as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not usually found.
Physicians are advised to remain “on the lookout” for patients presenting with a rash or crusty lesions.
Sajid Javid revealed yesterday that a further 11 Britons had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to 20.
The Health Secretary said: ‘UKHSA has confirmed 11 new cases of monkeypox in the UK. This morning I updated the G7 health ministers on what we know so far.
“Most of the cases are mild and I can confirm that we have acquired more doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox.”
Details about the eleven new patients have not yet been released.
But six of the previous nine confirmed cases were in men who have sex with men, which authorities say is “highly suggestive of spread through sexual networks.”
According to the Sunday Telegraph, a young child is among 20 patients currently being treated in the UK.
The newspaper reports that the boy is currently being treated in intensive care at a London hospital.
Yesterday, a leading British doctor predicted a “significant increase” in monkeypox cases in the UK in the coming weeks, as the country recorded 20 cases and more than 100 in Europe.
The disease, which was first detected in monkeys, can be spread from person to person through close physical contact as well as sexual intercourse, and is caused by the monkeypox virus.
Dr Claire Dewsnap, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, is concerned about the rate of spread of the virus.
She said sky news which expects a “significant” increase in infections next week.
“What worries me the most is that there are infections all over Europe, so this has already spread,” he said. “It’s already circulating in the general population… It could be really significant numbers in the next two or three weeks.”
He also warned that the virus could have a “massive impact” on access to sexual health services in Britain.
The UK Health Security Agency has said that a notable proportion of recent cases in Britain and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men.
The virus is most common in West and Central Africa, but the number of confirmed cases in Britain has reached 20, and nine other countries, including Spain, Portugal and Canada, have also reported outbreaks.
Meanwhile, Professor Sir Peter Horby, director of Oxford University’s Institute of Pandemic Sciences, described the current outbreak of monkeypox as “an unusual situation”, because the virus is transmitted within communities outside of central Africa. and western.
Sir Peter told BBC Radio 4 on Saturday: “It is transmitted by close person-to-person contact and in the past we have not seen it be highly infectious.”
“What’s unusual about what we’re seeing now is that we’re seeing community transmission in Europe and now in other countries, so it’s an unusual situation where it looks like the virus was introduced, but now we have transmission in course within certain communities.’
WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?
Monkeypox, often contracted from handling monkeys, is a rare viral disease that kills around 10 percent of the people it attacks, according to figures.
The virus responsible for the disease is found mainly in the tropical areas of West and Central Africa.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, with the first reported human case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Human cases were first reported in the US in 2003 and in the UK in September of 2018.
It resides in wild animals, but humans can get it through direct contact with animals, such as handling monkeys or eating undercooked meat.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, or mouth.
It can be passed between humans through droplets in the air and by touching the skin of an infected person or by touching objects contaminated by them.
Symptoms usually appear between five and 21 days after infection. These include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue.
The most obvious symptom is a rash, which usually appears on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. This then forms skin lesions that crust over and fall off.
Monkeypox is usually mild, and most patients recover within a few weeks without treatment. However, the disease can often prove fatal.
He added: ‘It appears there is some element of sexual transmission perhaps just with very close person-to-person contact and skin lesions, because a large proportion of current cases are found in gay and bisexual men.
“So it’s very important that we send the message that if people have unusual skin lesions, seek care quickly so we can get this under control.”
“The important thing is that we interrupt the transmission and this does not become established in the human population in Europe.”
Monkeypox is a generally mild infection, with symptoms including fever, headaches, and a distinctive bumpy rash.
In Britain, authorities are offering a smallpox vaccine to health workers and others who may have been exposed.
Spain is evaluating different therapeutic options, such as antivirals and vaccines, but so far all cases have mild symptoms and therefore no specific ad hoc treatment has been necessary, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias told reporters on Friday.
The Portuguese cases remain under clinical follow-up but none have been hospitalized as all are stable, the health authority said.
Portugal has 14 confirmed cases and 20 suspected infections. And across the Atlantic, there are two confirmed cases in Canada, with 20 suspected cases.
There are also cases in Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Israel and Australia.
The World Health Organization said it hopes to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not normally found.
As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox were reported in 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the UN agency said, adding that it will provide further guidance and recommendations in the coming days for countries. on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.
“Available information suggests that person-to-person transmission is occurring between people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic,” the agency added.
“What seems to be happening now is that it has come into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and it is spreading just like sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” he said. David Heymann, WHO official. an infectious disease specialist told Reuters.
He said close contact was the key transmission route, as the typical lesions of the disease are highly infectious. For example, parents caring for sick children are at risk, as are health care workers, which is why some countries have begun inoculating teams that treat monkeypox patients using vaccines against smallpox, a virus related.
Many of the current cases have been identified in sexual health clinics.
Early genomic sequencing of a handful of cases in Europe suggested a similarity to the strain that spread to a limited extent in Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018.
Heymann said it was “biologically plausible” that the virus had been circulating outside the countries where it is endemic, but had not caused major outbreaks as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions.
He stressed that the monkeypox outbreak was not like the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because it is not as easily transmitted.
Those who suspect they may have been exposed or are showing symptoms including a patchy rash and fever should avoid close contact with other people, he said.
“Vaccines are available, but the most important message is that you can protect yourself,” he added. (Reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Pravin Char and David Gregorio)