A month ago, in fact United Kingdom recorded the first imported case monkey-pox (monkey herd) from 2022. He was a traveler returning from Nigeria where the disease is endemic. What had hitherto been normal in some countries – occasional travel-related cases – had taken on an unprecedented proportion, making it the largest outbreak of the disease outside the African continent: more than 30 countries have already been affected.
One week after the first case in England, two friends from the same family, who had nothing to do with the first patient, also tested positive in London for the monkey.
“The current outbreak in England is the first time the virus has been transmitted from one person to another, where travel links to an endemic country have not been identified,” the UKHSA (Health Safety Agency) said in a statement.
From then on, patients with classic monkey symptoms (acute fever, swollen lymph nodes, and skin lesions) began to appear in hospitals in Portugal (May 17), Spain (18), and other European countries.
The disease, however, was not limited to the European continent. Almost simultaneously, the cases were confirmed in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
The number of positive diagnoses has grown exponentially, tripling in the last ten days.
This Monday (6), real-time monitoring by researchers from the Global.health initiative, which includes prestigious universities such as Harvard and Oxford, confirmed 1,011 cases of monkeypox in 31 countries.
However, more than half are concentrated in England, Spain and Portugal.
In addition to the countries mentioned above, the following cases have been confirmed:
• United Arab Emirates
• Northern Ireland
• The Netherlands
• Czech Republic
What interests researchers the most is how a disease (usually limited to people in the same family) that is thought to have a significantly limited human transmission appears in people with no apparent connection and in different parts of the world.
“Monkey disease is not a new disease, it has been described for at least 40 years and has been well studied in the African region. we are seeing it, ”said Rosamund Lewis, secretary general of the WHO (World Health Organization) Health Emergency Program.
A member of the WHO committee coordinated by Rosamund, Brazilian virologist Clarissa Damaso, suggested that Carlos Chagas Filho at the UFRJ Institute of Biophysics (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) found environments that facilitated the transmission of the monkey virus. groups of people.
“This time there was an extreme contact factor, someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were a lot of people somewhere, a lot of skin contact. [uma das formas de transmissão da doença]”Says a researcher who has been infected with the smallpox virus for 35 years.
Monkeypox is a zoonosis, which mainly affects animals, but the virus can jump to humans with a certain frequency and, as you can see, maintain a certain level of transmission between people.
On Wednesday, WHO Emergency Management Director Mike Ryan warned that outbreaks of monkeypox and Lassa fever are more persistent and frequent.
“Unfortunately, this disease is increasing and our ability to move around in our communities is increasing, so both the onset of the disease and the factors that are exacerbating the disease have increased.”