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Mutant Strain Triggers Global Concern: Pandemic Potential Looms

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  • A global team of scientists has raised concerns over a sustained monkeypox outbreak, triggered by new mutant strains of the virus, according to a study preprint released on Monday.
  • Originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kamitunga mining region last October, the outbreak has seen 108 confirmed cases since its inception. Twenty-nine percent of these cases were sex workers, highlighting sexual contact as a chief mode of transmission.
  • The outbreak is largely due to a specific mutation in a unique group of the monkeypox virus. This mutation, present in more than 70% of all cancer types, suggests recent human-to-human transmission and carries pandemic potential.

The ongoing potential disaster of a monkeypox outbreak has sparked global concern. The cause is linked to a group of mutant strains of the monkeypox virus, as revealed in a recent study preprint.

The Kamitunga mining region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been the epicenter of the outbreak, which started in October last year and has since confirmed 108 cases. The research disclosed that sex workers constituted 29% of these cases, indicating sexual contact as a major transmission method.

Scientists identified a distinctive “gene mutation” in the monkeypox virus as the key to the outbreak. This mutation signifies “recent human-to-human transmission” and has pandemic potential.

The specific gene is also prevalent in over 70% of all cancer types, particularly breast and bladder cancers, according to an unrelated study on human cancer.

The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) noted in a related study that the majority of cases in the current DRC outbreak are connected to the pre-existing monkeypox virus. The first quarter of 2024 recorded 4,488 cases in DRC, including approximately 319 confirmed cases and 279 reported deaths.

The ECDC data showed a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 6.7%, indicating the severity of the disease. In comparison, the CFR for COVID-19 was 0.05% to 0.5%, similar to seasonal influenza and a significant decrease from the 1.7% to 39.0% recorded in early 2020, according to a study published in January 2023.

The first known case of monkeypox in the U.S. was in 2003, traced back to a shipment of rodents imported from Ghana. These rodents infected pet prairie dogs, which spread the virus to people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported two travel-associated cases in 2021, followed by a worldwide outbreak in 2022, with around one-third of the 94,274 reported global cases identified in the U.S.

Primarily affecting gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender women, the main transmission route during the 2022 monkeypox outbreak was through sexual contact, according to CDC experts.

The current outbreak in the DRC, the largest monkeypox outbreak in the country’s history, has not reached the U.S. The risk to the U.S. public from the DRC monkeypox strains is low, and prior infection or vaccination should provide protection, according to the CDC.

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The awaiting peer-review study was conducted by scientists working in the U.S., Congo, Nigeria, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, and France, and was released as a preprint to prompt early discussions among the scientific community.

Preprints “are not finalized by authors, might contain errors, and report information that has not yet been accepted or endorsed by the scientific or medical community,” as stated by the health sciences preprint database, which holds the study.

In conclusion, the researchers advocated for the implementation of immediate public health measures to manage the current outbreak.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Will Steinberger

    April 22, 2024 at 8:44 am

    Im sorry due to the Covid deception the CDC, The FDA HLOST ANY AND ALL CREDIBILITY! EAT DOOKIE!

  2. TRM

    April 22, 2024 at 2:13 pm

    There are vaccines for monkeypox, so a pandemic is unlikely.

  3. David Wayyne Deel

    April 22, 2024 at 2:44 pm

    Monkey Pox, hugh/ iF I’m not mistaking, this sounds dangerously close
    to Small Pox. If I’m not mistaking, (again) Does this carry an even larger
    mortality rate, one in six, or something of the sort? Now if this thing is
    as contagious as I think it is, along with a casualty rate that I think there
    could be, we need to nip this thing with this very first case, that is if we
    catch it hopefully. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that I would
    like to live through another pandemic.

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