By A.S. (staff writer) , published on December 24, 2022
Monkeypox, Ebola, and bird flu were among the outbreaks that hit this year. This year provided numerous sobering reminders that the coronavirus is not the only viral threat.
Monkeypox has gone global.
The monkeypox virus, a cousin of the smallpox virus, had never before spread widely among people outside of Central and West Africa. The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries, to be a global health emergency -- the highest alarm it can sound
Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus and belongs to the Poxviridae family, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox
Close contact is the most common way for the disease, which can cause a rash with painful, pus-filled lesions, to spread. The virus is classified into two strains: West African and Central African.
Currently, recent sexual interactions are the main factor linking transmission in countries that appear to have recently been affected. There is a very significant chance that other instances, maybe in different population groupings, will be discovered without established chains of transmission. Close or direct physical contact with infectious lesions or mucocutaneous ulcers, such as during sexual activity, respiratory droplets (and possibly short-range aerosols), or contact with contaminated materials are all ways that human-to-human transmission happens.
Treatment options available
The monkeypox vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Monkeypox virus infection currently has no documented, safe treatment. Smallpox vaccines, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can all be utilized to control a monkeypox outbreak in the United States.
Ebola is not as contagious as other viruses such as colds, influenza, or measles. It is transmitted to humans through contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, such as a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat. Touching contaminated needles or surfaces is one way to contract Ebola.
Ebola cannot be contracted through the air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but is asymptomatic cannot spread the disease. Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes fever, body aches, and diarrhea, and sometimes bleeding inside and outside the body.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.
This year, two small Ebola virus outbreaks have been reported in Congo. Concerningly, an outbreak in Uganda began in September. Current Ebola vaccines and treatments do not provide protection against the strain that is causing the outbreak in that country. However, clinical trials for three vaccine candidates were scheduled to begin in late 2022.
The outbreak, however, appears to be on the decline after peaking in mid-October. Uganda had no active cases as of December 5.
A poliovirus variant was found in sewage in New York, Israel, the United Kingdom, and a few other places where polio had been eradicated, indicating that the virus, which can cause paralysis, was still circulating. In March, Israeli officials confirmed a case of paralytic polio in an unvaccinated 3-year-old; in June, polio paralyzed an unvaccinated man in New York.
These cases were linked to polioviruses derived from vaccines. One type of polio vaccine teaches the body to mount immune defenses against the disease by using a live but weakened virus. In rare cases, the weakened or attenuated virus can spread, mutate, and regain the ability to cause paralysis in unvaccinated people. Attenuated vaccines are not permitted.
Unknown hepatitis has infected children.
More than 1,050 children worldwide developed severe hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, between October 2021 and July 8, the last time the World Health Organization issued an update. Experts are still baffled as to why. They also don't know if this is a new outbreak or if doctors are simply paying closer attention in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Many cases were linked to an adenovirus, which is commonly associated with colds. However, having a previous case of COVID-19 could also play a role. Another theory is that children with a certain genetic susceptibility develop hepatitis as a result of a double infection, possibly with an adenovirus and a second virus known as AAV2.
This year, birds all over the world faced a deadly viral adversary: the H5N1 influenza virus. More than 4,300 wild birds have tested positive for the virus in the United States alone. More than 53 million farmed poultry died as a result of infection or being culled to control the virus's spread. The 2021-2022 season in Europe was also the largest known epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza, with over 2,600 outbreaks in farmed or captive birds across 37 countries. Researchers are concerned that H5N1 will pose a long-term threat to poultry, wild birds, and possibly other animals; the virus was linked to a seal die-off in Maine earlier this year. People are also vulnerable, with two cases reported since December 2021.
Jesús, E. G. (2022, December). Viruses other than the coronavirus made headlines in 2022. Retrieved from Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/viruses-ebola-monkeypox-mpox-polio-hepatitis-bird-flu-2022