Monkey Pox is an African disease, like Ebolaso why is it turning up here Henry Willis reports that U.S. Midwestern prairie dogs have the Monkey Pox virus, and the disease has recently been transmitted to humans.
Monkey Pox is indistinguishable from, and is related to, Small Pox, but it is a somewhat less virulent version of the virus. While Small Pox is a Class 5 virus, the Monkey Pox virus falls somewhere between a Class 3 and Class 4 virus. It has a 10% to 15% fatality rate, which rates it as a serious health concern.
Monkey Pox is a childhood disease of central Africa. It is contracted by contact with infected monkeys and ground squirrels, and it is spread among humans through poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and poor drinking water.
It is not currently known how Monkey Pox, a central African disease, infected prairie dogs of the Midwestern U.S. The first reported incident of the disease was observed in wild prairie dogs captured to be pets. There is little information about how widespread this disease is among the prairie dog population. However, while this virus was eradicated in the human population over twenty years ago, it appears this virus has remained active in the wild animal population, and it maintains its ability to jump from animals to infect humans.
The concern among health care professionals is that if the Monkey Pox virus can get into the wild animal population of North America, it is possible that much more serious diseases, such as Ebola, could also gain a similar foothold. There are some who hold the opinion that as Earth's global climate continues to warm such exotic pathogens will increase their attacks on humans, food plants, and domesticated animals.
Henry Willis is the author of Earth's Future Climate.
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