Home / News / World /  Monkeypox: Pandemic scenario cannot be ruled out…, expert explains how the virus can become dangerous
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Despite the rise in the number of cases, it is still too early to talk about a monkeypox epidemic, an expert pointed out. “Unless the virus has evolved significantly, both in its transmissibility and in its modes of transmission, this virus is known to be not very transmissible." But, the pandemic scenario cannot be ruled out completely, he further warned. 

In an interview with the news agency AFP, Antoine Flahault, Director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva said the emergence of the phenomenon should act as an alert. 

Can monkeypox be called an epidemic? And does it hold the risk of becoming a global pandemic?

“We're seeing the emergence of an unusual phenomenon, but it's still difficult to know whether it will explode into an epidemic, or whether its spread will be more contained. In recent days, the number of cases has doubled every three or four days, which could signal the exponential growth of an epidemic wave."

On monkeypox becoming a pandemic, he said, we cannot rule out any scenario at this stage. And the pandemic scenario cannot be ruled out completely.

That said, there are other less pessimistic scenarios, which are at least as plausible as scenarios. So far, no chain infections of more than six people have been reported. The reproduction rate in Africa has always been below 1, ie. without pandemic potential.

Is the spread of the disease surprising and worrying?

The emergence of this phenomenon, which is new outside of equatorial Africa, should alert us and make us very cautious. Indeed, we can currently try to dismantle all the chains of transmission because we only have a few cases, rather than waiting to be overwhelmed by a possible influx of cases for which we have little knowledge, few treatments or vaccines available, he said. 

It should always be remembered that an epidemic progression of contamination follows an exponential law which can be very rapid. For the moment, what we know about the monkeypox virus does not lead us to fear the massive contamination of the general population. Unless the virus has evolved significantly, both in its transmissibility and in its modes of transmission, this virus is known to be not very transmissible.

Is Monkeypox a sexually-transmitted disease? 

At the current time, however, there is no evidence that the monkeypox virus is sexually transmitted. It seems to be transmitted more by close and prolonged contact with an infected person who has blisters on their skin.

In this case, there is no reason for it to be confined to the male homosexual community. Other groups of the population could then be affected, children and heterosexual couples, in particular.

(With inputs from agencies)

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