“Since 13 May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 12 Member States that are not endemic for monkeypox virus, across three WHO regions. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however, reported cases thus far have no established travel links to endemic areas. Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics,” reports the World Health Organization.
The same WHO statement notes that monkeypox endemic countries are: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.
“Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. There are two clades of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The name monkeypox originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. The first human case was identified in a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
Various animal species have been identified as susceptible to the monkeypox virus. Uncertainty remains on the natural history of the monkeypox virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir (s) and how virus circulation is maintained in nature. Eating inadequately cooked meat and other animal products of infected animals is a possible risk factor, “reports the WHO.
Georgian allergist-immunologist, Bidzina Kulumbegov spoke about Monkeypox, noting it creates epidemiologically uncertainty and leaves concerns. With humans, more than 3 hours of 2-meter contact is necessary for infection.
“This is not an infection that can be spread by sneezing. It cannot cause a major pandemic. Yet, the country must be prepared in this direction. We have neither a vaccine nor an antiviral drug,” Kulumbegov said.
The head of the National Center for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, announced that the country will make an application for medical treatment for monkeypox.
“Of course, we will make an application for the drug. The drug is authorized by the European Medicines Agency. The ministry is working in this regard and we think we will be able to get it,” Gamkrelidze said.
He noted that monkeypox has not been confirmed in Georgia as yet.