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News about monkeypox in Italy and Europe

Professor Massimo Galli: “An earlier epidemic of monkeypox in the United States was triggered by the importation of a large wild mouse. It may have happened again.” The first case was also identified in Italy.

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News about monkeypox in Italy and Europe

After the first case of monkeypox Other infections were diagnosed by Massachusetts health authorities a few days ago, and other infections were also found on the “old continent”: on May 16, the British Health Agency recorded four more cases – three in London and one in the Northeast – but they were Reveal positive themes too In Spain (especially in Madrid) and Portugal. Today the news that there Monkeypox also in Italy. He is a young man who has returned in recent days from abroad, from the Canary Islands, and is now in the hospital in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Spallanzani Institute in Rome.

The name of this disease provokes Disturbing scenariosFortunately, the clinical development is generally favorable although the symptoms are similar to those of human smallpox. About 12 days after exposure, infected individuals appear fever, headache, body aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, General malaise and fatigue. Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the onset of fever, the patient develops rash, which usually appear first on the face but sometimes appear on other parts of the body as well. As explained by the National Institute of Health, “In Africa, monkeypox is fatal to about 10% of people who contract the disease.”

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Monkeypox is a rare viral disease found mainly in the tropical countries of Central and West Africa. It got its name because it was discovered in lab monkeys in 1958 but animal studies have found viral evidence of infection in squirrels, which is believed to play an important role as a natural host for the microbe. Laboratory studies have also shown that monkeypox infection can also occur in rats, mice, and rabbits. But how worried should we be about this disease? ask the professor Massimo GalliD., former head of the infectious diseases department at Sacco Hospital in Milan.

Professor, what is monkeypox?

We are talking about an infection caused by orthopoxviruses that is similar, in many respects, to the smallpox virus, and yet it is far from an evolutionary and evolutionary point of view. It is possible that the virus did not develop in the monkey but in the host animal, which is most likely a wild African squirrel. This virus really came to the fore in 2003, when a small epidemic occurred in the United States: it was caused by the import of a large rat called cricetomys gambianus that people wanted, for their own good, to keep at home as a pet. Well, the epidemic caused an average health problem even if the human infections were not particularly serious and the symptoms were mild. The fatal epidemic in the United States was zero.

So, once again, contact between humans and wild animals has caused a health problem.

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What we easily forget is that we travel lots and lots of wild animals from one end of the Earth to the other to use as pets. In 2004, I read a report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service – an agency of the US Department of the Interior that deals with the management and conservation of wildlife, fisheries and natural habitats – according to which in the past four years it has been imported into the United States. One trillion land animals including mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Among these animals was also cricetomys gambianus. The infections that have occurred in recent days due to monkeypox are also likely due to this kind of dynamics.

The gambian cricetomys

The gambian cricetomys

When was monkeypox first discovered in humans?

The virus was first discovered in 1958 in a monkey. Twelve years later, in 1970, the first case was diagnosed in people in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Scientists realized this because human smallpox had disappeared in the meantime, but children with similar symptoms were discovered. However, tests found that the cause was not human smallpox but monkeys. Unlike in the United States decades later, some deaths occurred in Africa although other factors, such as malnutrition, may have been affected.

How did monkeypox reach Spain, Portugal and the UK?

The hosts of natural reservoirs must be identified: they can be squirrels Funisciurus aneritrus or Funisciurus congicus, but the virus can also infect various monkeys and rodents such as the now famous cricetomys gambianus, an animal that is not so good to see so often that I wonder why in the world someone should decide Raised him at home. Anyway: someone almost certainly imported infected animals and the fact that the virus has been identified in different countries makes me think of a problematic “stock”.

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Like Sarskov’s pandemic 2, then, in this case too, could there be a species transmitted from animal to human?

We have a large number of animals that have the ability to transmit diseases to us. A while ago, I did a series of lectures on viruses that can be transmitted by animals, be they cats and dogs or exotic species. Sometimes surprises are very serious: three men who lived in Germany recently died of a virus transmitted to them by a strange squirrel, who decided to breed. Having wild animals in the home always carries risks that can sometimes be very dangerous.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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