while checking StrategyPage for updates on Central Africa/DRC, to see how their Ebola epidemic is going on (112 cases, 25000 vaccinations to stop the spread), and a Covid outbreak in a refugee camp (not much detail given), I noted this observation.
September 9, 2020: In Congo medical authorities reported a monkeypox outbreak in the has so far infected 141 people and killed ten. All 141 cases are confirmed cases. Monkeypox has symptoms similar to the small pox virus, though far less severe.
I never saw this disease in Africa, but I remember reading about it when there was an outbreak in the USA back in 2003, due to imported animals from Ghana... actually these imported animals gave the MP to prairie dogs, and the people who bought prairie dogs for pets got infected, usually via cleaning the cages when you had a small wound for the virus to enter, or by being bitten by the Prairiedog.
in other words, you can get it not just from monkeys but from small rodents.
However that epidemic was not spread person to person.
there was also an outbreak in the UK from patients who caught it in Nigeria back in 2018, that spread to a health care worker who got it because of inferior quality protective gloves.
and last year there was one case in Singapore, brought in from Nigeria. The article includes this nice illustration about the disease:
CDC discusses the ongoing epidemic.
. Usually only spread via close contact with infected animals, although a few cases of human to human transmission have been reported in those in close contact with someone with lesions or maybe from close contact from respiratory spread. There is treatment, but usually prevention by small pox vaccination is the way to stop transmission...
ironically, since smallpox has been eradicated, people no longer receive small pox vaccine, so now are vulnerable to smallpox's weaker cousins in the pox family. This might explain why the public health authorities are seeing periodic outbreaks of money pox in various African countries.
so how many cases are we talking about?
OutbreakNews says over 2500 cases since July.
presumably this is not going to cause a major outbreak, but it does show how diseases can move from animals to humans and spread quickly if not stopped.
Personally, I'm more worried about bird flu, (H5N1 avian influenza virus) which has killed a couple hundred people in Asia who were in close contact with chickens etc., but luckily has not taken the last step that makes it possible for human to human transmission.
and all the conspiracy types who think that because a "war game" simulation was done for a covid type virus last year, that this was related to the covid outbreak:
well, all I can say is that a similar "war game" was done about bird flu a couple years ago. And bird flu is a lot more dangerous and has a higher mortality.
And for all the hysteria and conspiracy theories on covid, the dirty little secret is that it is too weak to be a deliberate bioweapon release, since the morality is low, not to mention it killed quite a few Chinese (how many? who knows. They are keeping it secret).
However, the good news about covid is that it has given the world expertise on how to handle the next outbreak, so if a lethal disease should again jump from animals to human, people will be prepared.