Another virus you haven’t heard of in Europe is sending alerts. The United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain now confirm that cases of “monkeypox”, in Portuguese, are being diagnosed with monkeypox, a milder form of smallpox that was eradicated in the 1980s. The Congo has appeared sporadically in Europe and the United States, associated with travel to the African continent, but the fear now is that there is transmission in Europe. In both Spain and England, the authorities confirmed that all cases were detected in men who have sex with men, and only in Portugal the General Directorate of Diseases states that all infected are young people. Specialists who have spoken in recent days are of the opinion that there is no reason to think about the development of a sexually transmitted disease. Infection occurs through direct contact with respiratory fluids and droplets, so close contact with an infected person will help, whether of a sexual nature or not.
What is this disease?
It is a zoonotic disease, when animals are vectors of viruses and parasites to humans, first identified in the 1950s in monkeys.
The first outbreaks of the disease were reported in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to transmission by direct contact with infected animals, transmission between humans is known. In 2003, the first outbreak was discovered in the United States linked to a store that imported animals from Ghana. This year’s outbreak appears to be Europe’s first human-to-human infection, but the epidemiological links have not yet been established, so the authorities admit that there will be internal circulation of the virus and not just the so-called imported cases. .
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the virus enters the body through wounds on the skin, respiratory tract, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth).
Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory secretions, i.e. prolonged talking near another person’s face, coughing or sneezing, as symptoms of this infection include influenza-like syndrome. But their most characteristic is the rash on the skin and the scattered vesicles on the body, which are small balls. The infection also causes fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen glands, and fatigue. And the General Directorate of Health, in a statement, today, Wednesday, asked anyone who shows these symptoms to seek medical advice, stressing that if suspicious symptoms appear, the individual should refrain from direct physical contact.
“The clinical approach does not require specific treatment, and the disease is usually self-limiting within weeks,” says DGS, which added that five cases have been confirmed in Portugal, with another 15 cases under study for genetic confirmation of the virus, work being carried out from Doutor Ricardo Jorge, a national reference laboratory, was accepted by the National Institute of Health.
According to the latest studies, the lethality rate for different strains varies between 1% and 10%. There is no specific treatment other than symptomatic treatment, which is the treatment of fever for example.
Currently, the emergence of cases in many countries indicates a circulation that is no longer contained. Although the DGS said today that the disease is rare and does not spread easily between humans, researchers have already noted that there are two types of viruses and one of them appears to have a higher attack rate.
“Person-to-person transmission was thought to be very low (<10%) in local contacts. However, in the recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was persistent person-to-person transmission with a household attack rate of 50%,” he noted. Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia. “It is now known that there appear to be two main types of this virus, the Congo virus, which cause more disease, greater mortality and are more transmissible. The other is West African virus, which is usually less transmissible and causes less severe disease.”
This expert is of the view that just as the cases appear to be linked to the latest virus, the spread may be limited and the impact less. You can see other reactions in the UK, the first country to report that domestic issues have arisen, on this page.
According to British health authorities, most people recover within two to four weeks, and they recommend avoiding contact with wild animals and people who are asymptomatic or not feeling well. They also urged anyone with a rash who has been in Central Africa in the past three weeks, or with someone who has been diagnosed, to contact health services.