When monkeypox was emerging as a disease of note I wrote an article to develop an understanding of its threat (read Understand Monkeypox Before They Turn It Into Fear Porn). Although authorities have tried to leverage the disease into a fear campaign they have not succeeded except possibly in the gay community. Having the same transmission pathway as HIV, it will likely have the same epidemiological profile except it doesn’t pose the same threat of harm and death.
The Monkeypox Genome
A friend sent me a link to a genome database that includes monkeypox. Scientists use such data to study the relationship between the variants of a virus caused by mutations. Here is the chart.
The small number of cases analyzed compared to SARS-CoV-2 in part explains the relative short history of variants. It is curious that Canada has a relatively large representation of cases (represented by the size of the circle) compared to much of the rest of the world.
For more information on monkeypox, read Monkeypox Virus: Facts Vs Fear.
Case Numbers and Deaths
BNO News which had been tracking it, posted their final tally of cases and deaths on June 11. At that time, 1,620 cases with 0 deaths were reported.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created an interactive 2022 U.S. Map & Case Count application. As of July 25, US case counts, as seen below:, are showing an early exponential rise among the susceptible population, primarily male homosexuals (read How it Spreads and WHO Chief Advises Reducing Sex Partners to Avoid Monkeypox).
The organization CIDRAP quotes data from WHO as of July 20, reporting ~14,000 cases with 5 associated deaths (WHO: 14,000 monkeypox cases worldwide, 5 deaths). A number of news sources put 1 death in Brazil and 2 in Spain (e.g. Monkeypox: First deaths outside Africa in Brazil and Spain).
Response of Authorities
Not surprisingly, early declarations of an emergency have come from San Francisco (State of Emergency in San Francisco Declared Over Monkeypox Spread) and New York City (Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency in New York City).
The CDC in the US is making monkeypox a “nationally notifiable condition” as of August 1 according to news sources such as Politico.
In a press conference on July 23, the WHO Director General stated:
For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.Source: WHO Director-General’s statement at the press conference following IHR Emergency Committee regarding the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox – 23 July 2022
The WHO response is puzzling when the annual death rate from the flu virus in the US alone is 12,000 – 52,000 (CDC) and they don’t declare it a health emergency.
The health authorities have to be given credit for trying to make this into a global crisis. However, to put it into perspective, when was the last time you gave any thought to HIV and AIDS, the disease associated with it? You should spend even less time and worry thinking about monkeypox.
Finally, if you decide to take the monkeypox vaccine, keep in mind it can have serious side effects, and the risk of injury or death from it may be greater than the risk from the virus itself.
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