Sun, June 26, 2022


Chula virologist downplays concerns about monkeypox

A leading virologist of Chulalongkorn University on Wednesday played down worries about monkeypox, saying the chance is very low of it becoming a pandemic like the Covid-19 virus.

Prof Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the university’s Faculty of Medicine, posted on his Facebook wall that smallpox has been detected for decades and the virus contagious.

Yong said people would get infected only if they touched pus or excreta of the people who have already developed abscess due to the monkeypox infection.

Yong said he had written a medical article about monkeypox in 2003 and the information is still applicable now.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that as of May 21, 92 laboratory confirmed cases, and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported by 12 member states that are not endemic for monkeypox virus across three WHO regions.

Yong said monkeypox was not a new disease but the outbreak happened in Africa before it spread to many states in the United States in 2003 with over 30 patients.

He said it is much harder for monkeypox to spread compared to Covid-19 and smallpox, so there is very little chance of monkeypox becoming a pandemic.

Yong also reposted his 2003 article, which said monkeypox was caused by Poxvirus that can infect both humans, and animals such as cows, monkeys, birds and chicken.

The article added that most Thais, who were born before 1974, have been vaccinated against smallpox so they should also have immunity against monkeypox.

After the WHO announced in 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated, the government has stopped giving smallpox vaccine to newborn Thais, the article added.

Published : May 25, 2022