Monkeypox was Declared a Global Health Emergency by WHO
Recently the world has faced an epidemiological threat called monkeypox. This disease is not new and began to spread in Africa in the 1970s. Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease, which means that the virus is transmitted from animals to people, and then spreads from person to person by close physical contact with lesions, contaminated materials, body fluids, and respiratory droplets. This disease is inherent in Central and West Africa, but currently monkeypox has begun to spread throughout the world and in many countries – the first cases of infection have already been identified.
The monkeypox virus is coming from the same viral family the variola virus, that causes smallpox. However, in many cases monkeypox is mild and allows people to recover within several weeks, even without treatment. In such cases, isolation at home is required in order not to spread the virus. Nevertheless, if an infected person’s symptoms are severe, like lesions, a headache, or muscle ache, treatment in a hospital is required.
Regarding treatment, there are certain antivirals that are used to treat smallpox that have also been licensed for the treatment of monkeypox. In 2018, the FDA approved the use of Tecovirimat for the treatment of smallpox, but the drug has not yet been widely used. In 2021 another antiviral Brincidofovir (Tembexa), was approved by the FDA.
In the past, smallpox vaccinations were widely conducted to eradicate the disease, but now mass vaccinations have stopped. This means people under 40 have no immunity. According to the World Health Organization, smallpox vaccinations can protect against monkeypox in 85% of the cases. In the United States there are currently two licensed vaccines: ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS. For people who do not have serious concomitant diseases, monkeypox vaccines do not cause serious side effects.
Monkeypox is a serious disease that can cause complications. At this time, it is recommended to vaccinate doctors and specialists who work directly with the virus. Regarding mass vaccination, WHO does not yet recommend its implementation.
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