How deadly is monkeypox? Virus fatality rate compared to COVID

As health officials continue to report new cases of monkeypox, many have questioned how deadly the disease is and how it is related to COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted from animals to humans) with symptoms very similar to those seen in smallpox patients in the past, although clinically less severe.”

The WHO states that monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970, and historically the mortality rate “ranged from 0 to 11% in the general population and was higher in young children”.

monkey pox
Cases of monkeypox have been reported in several countries around the world and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), lately the case fatality rate of monkeypox has been around 3-6%. Above: Close-up of hands with monkeypox virus injuries, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1997.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Monkeypox against COVID

“Recently, the mortality rate has been around 3-6%,” WHO said in a recent document on monkeypox.

In comparison, the observed case fatality rate for COVID-19, which is the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases, is 1.2 percent according to data from Johns Hopkins University in the US, but this number varies by country.

A top professor and expert in vaccines and tropical medicine said the current outbreak of monkeypox should be easier to contain than COVID-19, noting that the disease is easier to identify.

See pictures of monkeypox lesions here.

Where has monkeypox been reported?

The WHO’s latest document on monkeypox comes as new cases of the disease have been reported in several different countries, raising concern among individuals worldwide.

On May 21, WHO released a document showing that monkeypox cases had been reported in “12 Member States where monkeypox virus is not endemic” in three WHO regions. So far, “no deaths have been reported”.

According to the document, cases of monkeypox have been reported in the following countries:

  • US,
  • Australia,
  • Belgium,
  • Canada,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Italy,
  • Netherlands,
  • Portugal,
  • Spain,
  • Sweden,
  • Great Britain.

Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

There is a vaccine that can be used to treat monkeypox.

Four days ago, the US government ordered millions of doses of a vaccine that protects against monkeypox.

Is monkeypox different than COVID?

During a recent question and answer session, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, WHO Smallpox Secretariat, that “monkeypox and COVID are not the same disease”.

“It’s caused by a different virus and spreads in a different way,” said Dr. Lewis during the monkeypox Q&A. “The way it spreads is through close physical contact. People who have monkeypox develop a rash, and this rash can be contagious if you touch it [it’s] within families or in social networks where close contact takes place.”

In response to the reported cases of monkeypox in the US, President Joe Biden recently said it was “something to worry about.”

On Monday, however, Biden appeared to retract his comments, saying, “I just don’t think it’s reaching the level of concern that has been with COVID-19.”

The WHO led news week on its document on monkeypox, published May 21 after requesting comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/how-deadly-monkeypox-virus-fatality-rate-compared-covid-1709269 How deadly is monkeypox? Virus fatality rate compared to COVID

Rick Schindler

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