Infections occur when people are bitten by rodents such as rats. The outbreak is limited to villages in the African rainforest, which has been the pattern of monkeypox outbreaks up to now. Professor Yoshiaki Katsuta of the Kansai University of Social Welfare (KUWU), a professor of travel medicine, points out, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to declare a state of emergency because this pattern has been broken.
The fact that the infection has been confirmed around the world has led the World Health Organization to conclude that it poses a major threat. Data from when the disease spread in Europe and the United States show that 98% of those infected were male homosexuals, but some women are beginning to become infected as well.”
The virus, which originated in rodent-infected monkeys found in laboratories, is primarily transmitted by secretions (juices) from the rash. Theoretically, it can also be transmitted through sex between men and women. Professor Katsuta continues.
We are concerned about the spread of the virus to pets. In fact, there was a case of a pet infected with monkeypox in 2003. It is possible for a person to become infected just by hugging a pet. Pets have body hair, making it difficult to recognize symptoms such as rashes.”
Professor Taro Yamamoto of Nagasaki University’s Institute of Tropical Medicine is also alarmed by the rapid spread of human-to-human transmission, which should have been rare with monkeypox.
The virus may be mutating. If the infection spreads, the probability of people becoming seriously ill will increase, and the risk of the virus mutating will also increase. So it is critical that we do not allow the infection to spread.”
The main route of infection is, as mentioned earlier, the juice from rashes and other boils that form on infected people. It can also be spread by droplets, but unlike the new coronavirus, this is limited to cases of close bodily contact, such as sex. Professors Katsuta and Yamamoto both say, “At present, there have been no reports of sequelae and the fatality rate is low. There is nothing to be overly concerned about. According to the two professors, there are five things to do to protect yourself from monkeypox: wash your hands and gargle, wear a mask, avoid physical contact with people suspected of being infected, avoid contact with animals in areas where infection has spread, and get vaccinated against smallpox. Professor Yamamoto added, “Do not bring prejudice and discrimination into the country.
During the AIDS epidemic, the prejudice that ‘infected people deserve what they get because they had bad sex’ severely hampered communication between infected patients and medical institutions. As a result, patients stopped going to see their doctors. Even if they wanted to raise awareness, they could no longer contact the infected people. Prejudice and discrimination let infectious diseases get out of control.”
For those of us who have fought the new coronas, monkeypox is not a threat. We just need to fear it correctly based on the right knowledge.
From the August 19 and 26, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Courtesy of CDC/The Mega Agency/Afro (1st photo) Jiji (2nd photo) EPA=Jiji