Are we ready for monkeypox, et al.?
The new administration faces difficult tasks during its term in office. Emergency plans must be drawn up before any danger arises. A task force that takes care of future pandemics or epidemics should always exist especially that a new virus, monkeypox, has emerged.
A zoonosis has already taken place, namely from animals to humans. From my time as an intern and a scientific laboratory assistant in a biosafety laboratory level 4, I know that monkeypox is structurally related to smallpox, and causes similar but usually milder diseases. At that time, we had already carried out laboratory experiments on rats and ferrets. It is a matter of time until this one jumps from person to person and becomes airborne. The current one that affects people is harmless, but in rare cases (old, sick people with previous illnesses or a weakened immune system such as cancer patients or HIV) can be fatal. Children who have not been vaccinated against smallpox should also be observed closely.
Is the new administration ready to handle this and other problems?
DR. JÜRGEN SCHÖFER, PH.D.
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