Midsection Of Woman With Dog On Field

The first case of transmission of monkeypox from humans to dogs was reported. Should we be worried?

The World Health Organization called on Wednesday to to prevent exposure of animals to the virus after the first reported case of human-to-dog transmission.
The first human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox – between two men and their Italian greyhound living together in Paris – was reported last week in the medical journal The Lancet.

“This is the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission … and we believe it is the first case of infection in a dog,” Rosamund Lewis, WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, told reporters.

Experts were aware of the theoretical risk that such a jump could occur, she said, adding that public health agencies were already advising those suffering from the disease to “isolate themselves from their pets.”

She also said that “waste management is essential” to reduce the risk of contamination from rodents and other animals outside the home.

Should we be worried?

When viruses jump the species barrier, it often raises concerns that they could mutate dangerously.
Dr Lewis emphasized that there were no reports of this happening with monkeypox yet.
But she acknowledged that “once the virus moves to a different environment in a different population, there’s obviously a possibility that it will evolve differently and mutate differently.”
The main concern revolves around animals outside the household.

“The more dangerous situation is when the virus can get into a population of small mammals with a high density of animals,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters.

“It is through the process of one animal infecting another and another and another that you can see the rapid evolution of the virus.”
However, Dr Ryan stressed that there was no cause for concern for pets.
“I don’t expect the virus to evolve faster in a single dog than in a single human,” he said, adding that while “we have to remain vigilant … pets are not a risk.”

Globally, more than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 92 countries since the start of the year, and 12 people have died, according to the WHO, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

Vaccine “not a silver bullet”

With a 20 percent rise in cases worldwide in just the past week, the UN health agency is urging all countries to do more to contain the spread, including ensuring at-risk populations have access to services and information about the dangers and how to protect themselves.
There is also originally developed for smallpox, but is in short supply.

Dr Lewis stressed that there was still little data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in protecting against monkeypox in the current outbreak.

Although no randomized control trials have yet been conducted, she said breakthrough cases have been reported after vaccination, suggesting that “the vaccine is not 100 percent.”
Pointing to limited studies from the 1980s suggesting that smallpox vaccines used at the time could offer 85% protection against monkeypox, she said the breakthrough cases “were not really a surprise.”

“But it reminds us that a vaccine is not a silver bullet,” she said.

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