Monkeypox may have been circulating outside of Africa for several years

(ORDO NEWS) — For many years, the monkeypox that sparked the outbreak around the world may actually have been circulating in people far beyond Africa. This is indicated by the results of DNA sequencing of the virus.

Employees of the University of Edinburgh, in the UK, provided a report that this strain of monkeypox appeared a long time ago. It has been circulating for five years between people all over the world.

It is worth noting that more recently, scientists believed that the virus was transmitted to humans from an animal in West Africa this year and only then it was accidentally brought to Europe.

Monkeypox, as a rule, spreads among animals far into all African countries. From time to time, the virus can be transmitted to people, causing an outbreak among local residents.

Directly in Africa, many years could not notice how people are getting infected in different parts of the continent. In 2022, cases of the disease began to be recorded not only in Europe, but also far beyond its borders.

More than 900 people have been infected in 27 countries to date. Only in England there are about 200 patients. An interesting point is that for the most part it was men who had previously had close contact with members of their own sex who were infected.

The conducted genome sequencing showed that the monkeypox virus is related to the virus that provoked minor outbreaks in Israel, the UK and Nigeria in 2017-2019. In the “new” virus, experts found 47 changes in DNA elements.

Accordingly, it was assumed that the virus could mutate over the past couple of years. In addition, scientists were extremely surprised by such a large number of mutations. Previously, it was assumed that the virus changes slowly and no more than one mutation occurs per year.

Due to too many mutations, there is no guarantee that the disease will not become too contagious soon. Monkeypox may well be the cause of another pandemic in the future.

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