Thai virus expert sounds warning on spread of monkeypox
Monkeypox is now spreading through human-to-human contact, a leading virologist warned on Monday.
Dr Yong Poovorawan said the name “monkeypox” was misleading as most recent cases of the disease were male and certainly not infected by monkeys.
However, health experts say the monkeypox virus only spreads via close contact with an infected person.
Thailand has set up an emergency operations centre to monitor the global outbreak of monkeypox and tighten border controls following a surge in tourist arrivals this month.
Cases of the disease have been reported in at least 13 countries.
However, monkeypox has not yet been detected in Thailand.
Dr Yong said the disease is thought to have been carried to the US by imported giant Gambian rats before spreading among prairie dogs and humans.
So far, cases have been detected in the US, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms – such as fever, chills, exhaustion, headache and muscle weakness – followed by a rash on the face and body.
However, health authorities around the world have downplayed fears of another pandemic on the scale of Covid-19. They point out that monkeypox is a far less infectious virus against which there is already effective protection, namely smallpox vaccine.