Headline July 29, 2015/ ''' EMERGING INFECTIONS '''


ONE OF THE greatest public health victories of the last century was the eradication of smallpox.

After the disease was pronounced extinct, in 1980, people stopped using the smallpox vaccine. That seemed the ultimate symbol of technology's triumph over a medieval scourge.

Alas, it turns out that the end of vaccination has unleashed new demons, 

Researchers have long suspected that  smallpox vaccine  also provides protection against diseases-

Such as monkeypox and cowpox, and three decades ago a committee of experts weighed up whether ending vaccination for smallpox might allow one of the diseases to spread in humans. 

They decided that this was unlikely.

Now, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests they may have been wrong. 

A team led by Anne Rimoin of the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted surveys of people living in the centre of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thy found a dramatic surge in monkeypox  - a disease which, though not as bad as smallpox, kills 10% of those it infects. 

The researchers selected central Congo partly because of the last comprehensive study of  monkeypox, carried out between  1981 and 1986, covered the area well. In addition, reports had been surfacing from that part of Congo about people with the disease.

Their investigation found a 20-fold increase, up from 0.7 cases per 10,000 people during the earlier survey to 14.4 cases per 10,000 between November 2005 and November 2007.

Scrutiny of the data reveals two curious trends. 

First, men were more likely to be infested than women, and people living in rural and forested areas more likely than town dwellers. That suggests those groups are in regular contact with a natural reservoir of monkeypox.

Despite its name, monkeypox virus is believed to reside mainly in rodents such as squirrels and giant pouched rats. 

As war and poverty have forced those living in this area to rely more and more meat from wild animals  [with men doing the hunting] , opportunities for the virus to pass from rodents to people have increased. 

The second curiosity was that the disease was overwhelmingly one of the young   -in particular the researchers note, those not vaccinated against smallpox  [something which is true of most people under the age of 30]. 

More than 90% those infected were after 1980, and the average age of sufferers was 12.

All this is no necessarily an argument for the reintroduction of smallpox vaccine. Another of the paper's authors, Nathan Wolfe of the Global Viral Forecasting initiative, thinks the risk associated with that vaccine-

{Allergic reactions that sometimes kill} outweigh its likely benefits. What this result does suggest though, is that the world's health authorities need to watch for:

The emergence of other viruses related to smallpox that maybe skulking in the undergrowth, awaiting their opportunity.

So, smallpox may be gone and even extinct, but  monkeypox is now rearing its ugly head. Beware!

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers involved in research projects. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Intellectual Joy '''

Good Night and God bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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