Delayed intervention makes eradication monkeypox more challenging (Amanda Dalbjorn)

Vaccinations and lifestyle changes in at-risk communities have allowed U.S. public health officials to progressively gain control over monkeypox. Nonetheless, a new study cautions that it is premature to relax.

In the research, Johnson and his co-authors identified several prominent epidemics that were aggravated by pathogen mutation, such as the recent Ebola virus outbreak (2013-2016) and the delta and omicron forms of SARS-CoV-2. These evolutionary modifications probably rendered the viruses harder to regulate.

The team expects that its research will persuade policymakers to avoid complacency and delay when confronting “controllable”-appearing diseases such as monkeypox. If adopted swiftly and consistently throughout an epidemic’s lifecycle, control techniques such as contact tracing and immunisation may provide public health officials with the best opportunity to eradicate the outbreak before it evolves significantly. The team’s long-term objective is to improve worldwide responses to zoonotic infections in their initial stages, when they are considerably less expensive and easier to control.




Journal Reference

Philip L F Johnson et al, Evolutionary consequences of delaying intervention for monkeypox, The Lancet (2022). DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01789-5

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