monkey pox


August 15, 2022

Monkeypox, monkeypox, monkeypox or monkeypox virus infection, is a zoonosis caused by a virus of the Poxviridae family. This virus belongs to the same genus OrthopoxvirusOrthopoxvirus as that of human smallpox, a disease which has been declared eradicated by the WHO since 1980. It is endemic mainly in the forests of central tropical Africa. The virus, enzootic in the rainforests of Central and West Africa, can be transmitted to humans and cause a syndrome whose clinical manifestations are similar to those of smallpox (pustular rash, fever, respiratory symptoms, etc.), but less serious. The disease can be severe in some cases, causing death in 1 to 3.6% (West African clade) or 10% (Central African clade) of patients in Africa, most of them children, who are more susceptible to the disease. disease, and immunocompromised people. Most patients recover with proper care. Vaccination against human smallpox provides effective protection against infection, up to 85%, including after exposure to the virus. The two diseases can be confused and there is no definitive clinical diagnosis. Only laboratory analysis can determine the virus causing the infection. Researchers assume that initial transmission is through direct or indirect contact with blood, body fluids, or skin or mucous membrane lesions of infected monkeys or wild rodents. Consumption of undercooked game is also considered a possible risk. Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person, objects recently contaminated with body fluids, or material from a patient's lesions. According to the WHO, transmission occurs primarily through respiratory droplet particles and usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact. It can also occur by inoculation or through the placenta (congenital monkeypox). The first human cases were described in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of cases and epidemics seems to have increased in Africa since 2000, probably due to the interruption of smallpox vaccination which provided cross-protection against monkeypox. Since May 2022, several thousand cases have been detected in Europe and North America, which is very unusual for this disease.

A controversial name

The disease was named "monkey pox" because the virus, related to that of smallpox, was isolated in a monkey. But this name is inappropriate because the disease is not specific to monkeys and the animal reservoir of the virus is more likely to be in rodents. Moreover, for a zoonosis causing human epidemics, this name has a pejorative and therefore stigmatizing connotation, which could lead some patients to conceal their disease rather than consult and take the appropriate measures to limit contagion. On June 14, 2022, the WHO pledged to rename the disease. On July 27, 2022, New York City urges the WHO to stop using the name "Monkeypox".


Discovery in monkeys

Monkeypox virus was discovered and isolated in Denmark in 1958 from the lesions of a generalized rash in captive crab-eating macaques. These monkeys from Singapore were destined for the Statens Serum Institut (State Serum Institute) in Copenhagen. A long surveillance survey was conducted by the WHO in Europe and the United States, as the discovery of this vi