From Beginnings In Africa To Global Spread

A timeline of monkeypox: From its beginnings in Africa to its global spread

Monkeypox is related to the deadly smallpox virus.


As cases of monkeypox flare up around the world, leading to a scramble for a vaccine, AFP looks at how the disease has spread since it first emerged in Africa in the 1990s. 1970.

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, a global health emergency – the highest level of alarm the organization could raise. .

Monkeypox, so called because it was first detected in monkeys, is related to the deadly smallpox virus, which was ruled out in 1980, but is much less severe.

The strain currently circulating outside Africa is the milder of the two known versions.

1970: First human case

Smallpox in humans was first identified in 1970 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in a 9-year-old boy.

It is endemic to the tropical rainforests of Central and West Africa, where 11 countries have reported cases.

The virus is transmitted by close contact with infected animals, mainly rodents or humans.

2003: First outbreak outside Africa

In June 2003, the disease appeared in the United States – the first time it was detected outside of Africa.

The disease is believed to have spread after rodents, imported into the US from Ghana, became infected with prairie dogs.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 87 cases but no deaths.

2017: Translation in Nigeria

2017 brought a major outbreak in Nigeria, with more than 200 confirmed cases and a mortality rate of around 3%, according to the WHO.

Over the next 5 years, sporadic cases were reported around the world in travelers from Nigeria, particularly in the UK, Israel, Singapore and the United States.

May 2022: Soars outside of Africa

In May 2022, a series of cases were detected in countries outside Africa, in people with no travel links to the region. Most of those affected are gay men.

Europe is the epicenter of the new outbreak.

As of May 20, the UK has recorded 20 cases, mostly in gay men.

On the same day, WHO counted 80 confirmed cases around the world, including in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

End of May: Start vaccination

On May 23, the United States said it was preparing to administer a smallpox vaccine, which is effective against monkeypox, to people who have had close contact with monkeypox patients.

Three days later, the European Union said it was working to centralize vaccine purchases, as it did for Covid-19.

June: More than 1,000 cases

In early June, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of WHO, said that more than 1,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox had been reported to WHO from 29 countries where the virus is not commonly present.

On June 21, Britain announced plans to make the vaccine available to gay and bisexual men with multiple sex partners.

WHO experts met on June 23 to discuss this threat but decided that monkeypox was not a global public health emergency.

July: 14,000 cases, 70 countries

On July 8, health authorities in France also implemented pre-emptive measures against those considered at risk, including gay men, transgender people and sex workers.

On July 14, the US CDC reported more than 11,000 confirmed cases in 60 countries where monkeypox is not normally found. Most cases are in Europe, the United States and Canada.

The number of infections in New York doubled in less than a week to several hundred. People waiting in line for vaccines are in short supply.

On July 20, Tedros announced that nearly 14,000 confirmed cases had been reported to WHO this year, from more than 70 countries, with 5 deaths, all in Africa.

He said six countries reported their first cases last week, while some states had limited access to diagnostics and vaccines, making outbreaks difficult to track and prevent. more blocking.

WHO calls for a new expert meeting on July 21 to decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

On Saturday, Tedros declared the monkeypox outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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