The world is worried about monkeypox, which is caused by a virus endemic in central and western Africa. In recent days, cases have been detected in the United Kingdom, Portugal or even Spain. Also in countries such as the United States or Canada, where the Montreal health authorities have identified 17 probable cases of monkeypox and have begun an investigation to understand the chain of transmission of the disease.
Peru, for its part, announced the start of a health alert as of Friday due to the increase in cases of monkeypox in the world, although the Peruvian authorities have stressed that it has not yet reported infections.
Thus, two years after the start of the covid-19 pandemic, The world population wonders if this infection, although it was first found in 1970, could turn today into a situation similar to that of the coronavirus. Several experts spoke with the Science Media Center to explain the possible consequences of the transmission of the disease.
Professor Kate Baker, Professor of Applied Microbial Genomics at the University of Liverpool, explained to the Science Media Center that it is likely that lThe transmission “occurs as a result of sexual intercourse rather than being a true sexually transmitted infection.” “This is similar to the sexually transmissible nature of some diarrheal pathogens (such as Shigella ) that are normally transmitted by the fecal-oral route, between men who have sex with men (MSM)”.
Meanwhile, Dr Michael Skinner, reader in virology at Imperial College London, said that “it is probably too early to draw any conclusions about the mode of transmission or to assume that sexual activity was necessary for transmission.” “By nature, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect increase the probability of transmission, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation and the mode of transmission.
Skinner explains that it is primarily a disease of small African animals, including rodents (there are two different strains, in the Congo Basin and West Africa). “Like humans, monkeys sometimes acquire the infection from small animals.” he says, adding that it is a “poxvirus, from the same family as the smallpox virus”. Thus, vaccination against smallpox would also protect against monkeypox.
Despite this, Professor Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director of the UCL Genetics Institute, University College London recommends “some caution at this stage before concluding that monkeypox has become a sexually transmitted infection. (STIs).
“The recent observations of apparent transmission through sexual contact in the UK do not necessarily imply any recent change in the route of transmission of the virus,” he said.