He only attacks apes (and humans). What do we know about the monkey pox virus?

The monkey flower, commonly found in Central and West Africa, has been spreading around the world for several weeks. The infection has already been found in more than 100 people on several continents outside Africa – Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. Every day new cases of this infection are reported and it seems that there will be more. It will probably reach Poland, and if that hasn’t happened yet, we don’t know yet. What is the risk of monkey pox?

Prof. Włodzimierz Qut: It depends on who we are talking about, because a group of people have been infected so far.


They are men who have sex with men.

However, the monkey pox virus can also attack other groups of people. It was similar to HIV and AIDS, and for many years the germ had spread to people who had heterosexual contact.

Monkey pox virus is spread through direct contact with an infected person. Moreover, it is not as terrible a disease as it seems, but it is not very “beautiful” – it leaves clear marks on the body. However, there is a “but”.


Until now, the infection has affected people who have been in contact with Africa and who have been in direct contact with a sick person. Also through contact with infected animals. Because monkey pox not only attacks monkeys, but also occurs among other small African animals. When it was discovered in the United States in 2003, it was discovered that it had been relocated from Africa (wild dogs were brought to Chicago from Africa – PAP). Now there is no such attitude … At least not yet.

Meanwhile, the monkey flower has already spread to several continents.

More than a hundred infections are not so much.

until we meet. What else surprises us about “monkey” flower disease?

Interestingly, the skin lesions caused by this infection occur only in the genitals, and most of the infected – I would like to remind you – have had sex with other men.

Apparently, you can also be infected with saliva.

Yes, but from animals.

Not from people anymore?

Not really. Unless you kiss the patient’s pimples. Something similar has already happened in our country, and it happened in 1963 in Wroclaw. Do You Remember?

Yes, I remember. It was the last flower epidemic in Poland and probably the last epidemic in Europe. It took place in the summer from July 15 to September 19.

He was brought to our country by an infected man from India who was vaccinated. In Poland, it was not immediately recognized that it was a real flower disease, resulting in the death of a nurse who became infected. More than 70 people were infected at his funeral.

Did they kiss with condolences?

Yes, when you say goodbye.

Is it easy to get smallpox or not?

Exactly. This shows what a flower disease can be, although it is not so easy to get infected. Belgium has imposed 21 days of isolation on infected people, although there are not many infections in the country. So far, the highest number of cases of monkey pox has been reported in Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Recent events in Europe are somewhat reminiscent of the history of hepatitis A (hepatitis A) infection among men who have sex with men. In a short time, the number of infections rose from 3,000 to 3,000.

However, hepatitis AA is a type of jaundice that usually occurs as a result of an oral-fecal infection from the gastrointestinal tract.

That’s right. This shows how events can sometimes be spread in strange ways, including through sexual contact with sick people.

Therefore, the number of monkey pox infections may continue to increase.

I ask again – in which groups? Because this is the main question.

This disease primarily affects men who have sex with men …

And bisexuals.

Does this mean that other groups of people may also be at risk? Especially when kissing infected people.

As a rule, infection occurs when an infected person already has symptoms.

Are there any skin symptoms such as rash?

Yes. That’s why I emphasize that it is usually difficult to get infected. However, because viremia precedes infection, sometimes the infection can occur before symptoms develop.

Why – at least so far – is this special group of people being attacked?

That’s what we don’t know yet. No first contact was made with Africa during the infection and transmission. Therefore, we do not know whether zero patients are infected on this continent.

What about vaccines against smallpox? In the past, some people were vaccinated against the disease, but after the eradication in 1980, these vaccines were abandoned. Therefore, not everyone is immune to the disease of flowers, as well as indirectly – the smell of monkeys.

Previously, the initial vaccination was so-called cows and vaccinated people are vaccinated.

A lifetime?

It is difficult to say.

But of course for a long time.

Yes, definitely. Children were always vaccinated because they responded well to the so-called cow. It was worse with vaccinating adults who were not vaccinated as children. We learned about this during the vaccination campaign during the epidemic of smallpox in Wroclaw. About the same number of people died of smallpox after vaccination.

Anti-vaccines will no doubt be pleased.

No, no, because no one wants to return to the cow, and many millions of people were vaccinated at that time.

Do we have other safe vaccines against smallpox that can at least partially protect against monkey pox?

Several such vaccines have been developed, and the hysteria caused by the fear that the flower disease could be used as a biological weapon is of great interest. And these vaccines should not have a vaccine effect.

Are we talking about side effects?

Yes. One of these vaccines consists of something that infects the cell and acts as a live vaccine, as well as a killed vaccine.

Does the spread of monkey pox bother you?

Of course, the virus can spread in certain environments, especially for bisexuals.

Can they spread the infection to other groups of people?


Some countries are developing vaccines against smallpox. Will it be offered when illnesses occur?

For now, as in Belgium, it is enough to isolate those infected with the virus so that they do not infect others. Provided, of course, that the disease is diagnosed in time. Which is not so simple, because how many doctors have seen a patient with smallpox?

What about rashes? This is a very different and visible change.

About 60 years ago, Wroclaw was not immediately diagnosed with smallpox.

When did this happen?

When did the doctors say after the funeral of the nurse – maybe it was a flower disease?

There are already monkey pox in Poland, but no one has found them yet?

no In addition, we have another flower disease – cat flowers occur from time to time.

I’m listening.

Almost all animals – I’m not talking about tropical animals – even seals have poxviridae infection. There are two flower viruses in humans. One is very rarely called molluscum contagiosum, and the other is an oral virus. However, these infections are so sporadic that they are not known to be present.

Are they all related to the flower virus?

They are a little far from it.

How much? Closer to normal chickenpox?

No, chickenpox is a completely different virus, I don’t like the name at all, especially not every rash is a flower disease. This is not a flower disease, but a more accurate common name is pneumatic rifle.

What about cat flowers? How often does it happen?

Usually once a year, sometimes twice or not at all. These are just isolated cases. It is difficult to distinguish the virus that causes it from the vaccine (vaccinia virus). They even suspect that in the past there were cats that were vaccinated by us.

Is there a common infection among cats?

no But it happens.

Interviewer: Zbigniew Wojtasiński

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