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Can Monkeypox Cause Covid-like Pandemic? Top US Doctor Lists 5 Reasons Why Not to Worry

The virus, which causes distinctive pustules but is rarely fatal, is endemic to parts of central and west Africa.(Image: Reuters File)

The virus, which causes distinctive pustules but is rarely fatal, is endemic to parts of central and west Africa.(Image: Reuters File)

Dr Faheem Younus, Chief Quality Officer and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland, said, Monkeypox cases are concerning but the risk of this becoming a Covid-like pandemic is zero per cent

Amid rising concerns over the outbreak of the Monkeypox disease across the globe, a top US doctor took to Twitter to share a list of five reasons why the outbreak becoming a Covid-like pandemic is zero. Dr Faheem Younus, Chief Quality Officer and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland, on Monday said, “Monkeypox cases are concerning but the risk of this becoming a COVID like pandemic is ZERO%.”

In his list of reasons explaining what sets the monkeypox virus apart from the Covid-19, he stated the virus is not novel, unlike SARS-CoV-2, not deadly, less contagious than Covid, has been around for five decades and is prevented by the smallpox vaccine.

Smallpox vaccines are around 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox infection, and several countries have said they have begun stockpiling them.

The disease, first found in monkeys, does not tend to spread easily between humans but can be transmitted through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse. It is a rare viral infection most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa and there are now 20 reported cases in the UK, with more than 80 across Europe, the US, Canada, Israel and Australia.

According to an advisory from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on monkeypox, it occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions. Typically, it presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. Severe cases can occur, the NCDC note said.

The World Health Organization on Monday said it does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated. Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat that is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme, however, noted the infectious disease that has been endemic in the west and central Africa has tended not to change.

Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses lead and technical lead on Covid-19 said over 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe and North America have not been severe. Many – but not all – of the people who have been diagnosed in the current monkeypox outbreak have been men who have sex with men (MSM). “We know that MSM if they do spot an unusual rash, they’re likely to want to get it sorted out quite quickly,” said Andy Seale, strategies adviser at the Department of Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes at the WHO.

(With inputs from agencies)

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first published:May 24, 2022, 19:31 IST