Monkeypox has likely been around for thousands of years, but the disease was not recognized until 1958. This occurred at the Statins Serum Institute in Copenhagen, where researchers found the disease in a group of macaques.
That’s why the new disease has been called “monkeypox” – a misleading name, because the virus lives mainly in rodents: monkeys and humans are occasional hosts.
Monkey pox is increasing
Monkeypox is closely related to the common smallpox, which killed 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
This is why so many vaccination campaigns against the dreaded smallpox have been launched. Vaccines have also protected us from monkeypox, but since its prevalence was curtailed in the 1970s, monkeypox has started to rise again in many African countries.
However, monkeypox is not as life-threatening as regular smallpox, and right now, without treatment, you only have a 1 to 3 percent chance of dying from it.
Who remains calm
The first human outbreak was reported in 1970 when six children were infected in Africa. The first victim was a nine-month-old baby in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who had not been vaccinated like the others.
In the West, the first infection was recorded in 2007 in a three-year-old American girl. She got monkeypox from her wild dog, which was again infected by a group of African hamsters.
For decades, the disease remained mainly in Africa, but an infection was found in Great Britain in May 2022, and since then monkeypox has been officially diagnosed in 20 other countries around the world.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) expects the outbreak to be contained.
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