Unusual outbreaks of monkeypox via human-to-human have been reported in the US, Australia, the UK, Spain, Portugal, and other European countries; While the transmission of monkeypox from animals to humans is well known, the increasing number of community transmission cases simultaneously occurring worldwide may represent an urgent pandemic threat.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 20, 2022: A higher incidence of human-to-human monkeypox transmission in varying geographical regions is alarming global health officials. While the transmission of monkeypox from animals to humans is established and known, the growing number of community transmission cases worldwide is a potential pandemic threat. The Global Virus Network (GVN), representing 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 countries, and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals, today announced the formation of the GVN Monkeypox Task Force. The new GVN Task force, which is expected to grow, will urgently bring together GVN researchers to explore the growing number of monkeypox cases worldwide. The announcement was made today by Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.
“The GVN is concerned about the recent growing number of monkeypox cases, given that the chain of transmission is still unknown,” said Prof. Bréchot. President of the GVN, and a Professor at the University of South Florida. “Although the virus is known to rarely cause human-to-human transmission, its potential growing spread in the community is a major concern. Our critical response to this outbreak is a rapid identification of viral infection to prevent further transmission. We support current organizations such as the World Health Organization and stand ready to serve as global first-responders to this dangerous virus and operate as an international clearinghouse to educate, inform and disseminate critical information to governments, health organizations, healthcare practitioners and the public-at-large.”
Today, Germany was the latest to report its first case of the virus, in addition to numerous cases detected in the U.K., Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, the U.S. and Australia. While we can identify cases linked to travel from Africa, where monkeypox is endemic, more recent infections are thought to have spread in the community, giving serious concern for broader global outbreak.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and subsequent cessation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox has emerged as the most important orthopoxvirus for public health. Monkeypox primarily occurs in Central and West Africa, often in proximity to tropical rainforests and has been increasingly appearing in urban areas. Animal hosts include a range of rodents and non-human primates.
About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, existing and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 69 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 37 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews
Nora Samaranayake, GVN