Monkeypox: Doctor vows to leave medicine if killer virus spreads

·3-min read

A rising number of new virus cases around the world has experts on high alert, with one strain resulting in a fatality rate of up to 10 per cent.

Monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the UK, US and parts of Europe, and for one doctor it could mean the end of their career.

The physician from the US state of Missouri, who goes by the Twitter handle Jaferdian, M.D., claims they will "leave medicine" if the virus spreads worldwide, saying they won't be "exposed" to a lethal disease because of "selfish" people.

"If monkeypox spreads, I think I’m leaving medicine. I’m not exposing myself to a disease with 10% mortality because this country of selfish f***s refuses to mask or get vaccines when they’re available," the tweet read.

Health officer uses a thermal head to detect a monkeypox virus on arriving passengers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia.
Monkeypox is an infectious disease from parts of Central and Westerns Africa that make humans lesions, fever, muscle aches, and chills. Source: Getty/File

The doctor said the Africa-originated virus is like smallpox – which was eradicated in 1980 – but confirmed "it's much milder".

One of the two main strains is the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of more like 1 per cent of cases. The Congo strain is more severe with up to 10 per cent mortality.

Epidemiologist and health economist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding claims the smallpox vaccine works against monkeypox and is "up to 85% effective".

"But the problem is practically no one under age 45 in the US has the vaccine since smallpox was eradicated," he tweeted.

"And those who have the smallpox vaccine from the 1970s and earlier likely need a revaccination."

Monkeypox transmitted 'through large respiratory droplets'

The UK reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7, with the total number of infections on Thursday at nine. The US has reportedly identified a single case on Wednesday, state health officials in Massachusetts confirmed.

Portuguese authorities say they have identified five cases of the rare monkeypox infection and Spain's health services are testing 23 potential cases after the UK put Europe on alert for the virus.

A handful of monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the UK, US and parts of Europe. Source: Getty
A handful of monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the UK, US and parts of Europe. Source: Getty

Typically, monkeypox is transmitted among animals, including monkeys and rodents, so human transmission has stumped officials – particularly because there's been no known connection between the cases thus far.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headaches and skin lesions or bumpy rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

For humans, the virus can be transmitted primarily through large respiratory droplets, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes – including the eyes, nose, or mouth.

with AAP and Reuters

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