In order to better fight pandemics in the future, the G7 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) are going to simulate a smallpox pandemic in an exercise. The point is to “find out whether lessons have been learned from past mistakes,” German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said in Berlin on Thursday.
It will be a very realistic exercise, assuming that a leopard bite could lead to a smallpox pandemic, Lauterbach (pictured below) stated at the start of the deliberations of the health ministers of the seven major industrialized countries (G7). In the simulation, the “leopard pox” pandemic mainly affects young people.
More and more countries in Europe affected
The transmission of smallpox from animals to humans is “not a pure theory,” Lauterbach said, citing several cases of monkeypox recorded in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Italy in recent days. As the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday, no disease has been identified in Austria to date.
British Health Minister Sajid Javid will report on this at the G7 ministerial meeting, Lauterbach announced. The so-called zoonoses pose an “ever-increasing threat,” Lauterbach warned. In Berlin, health ministers are discussing a global pandemic pact that will help identify and deal with outbreaks more effectively in the future.
Africa CDC announced multiple outbreaks
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox infections have been common in some African countries for decades. The virus has surfaced there several times in recent years, the African Union Health Organization (Africa CDC) now reports. “During the (corona) pandemic, we have had several outbreaks of monkeypox infections,” acting head of Africa CDC Ahmed Ogwell Ouma said Thursday.
However, the outbreaks hardly caused a stir during the corona pandemic and are also under control. Nigeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic were particularly affected.
Monkeypox cases also in US and Canada
In the United States, a person from the state of Massachusetts in the northeast of the country has been affected, the US health authority CDC said Wednesday. According to local media, health authorities in Canada are investigating about a dozen suspected cases. The results are expected in the coming days.
The disease is usually quite mild
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the viral illness usually causes only mild symptoms, but can also be severe. Only symptomatic patients with close contact are contagious. According to the UKHSA, the first signs of illness include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
Monkeypox can also develop a rash, which often spreads from the face to other parts of the body. Depending on the stage, doctors say it can look different and resemble chickenpox (wet leaves) and syphilis. There is no specific therapy and no vaccination against it. Experts suspect that the monkeypox pathogen circulates in rodents and that monkeys are considered false hosts.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.