Thursday, July 28, 2022

Vivienne Clarke

Infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey has said that the monkeypox virus was very unlikely to spread widely in the general population.

However, on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, Prof McConkey warned that it could become endemic in Europe and that the real concern would be if the virus mutated and started to spread more efficiently.

“There’s always a worry, when it is in thousands and thousands of humans that it will evolve into a more vicious animal and cause more disease.

“I think it is very unlikely that this will start to spread widely in the general population. The R0 (reproductive number), if we go back to the old technical numbers we used to use with Covid, in the general population is much less than one”.

Close contacts

Prof McConkey added that only 8 per cent of close contacts acquired the disease. So, unless the person had a very large number of close contacts, generally it would not continue to spread.

“I think this is quite a different type of pandemic. I think it is likely to stay within a group.

“In some ways, I feel reminiscent of the HIV epidemic back in the early 80s when, again, men who have sex with men were originally the risk group there.

“That did spread to 50 or 80 million people and caused a worldwide pandemic. So, I think it could become endemic, it could become part of the furniture if you like, like syphilis or like herpes, but I don’t see anything like the 6,000 or 7,000 deaths we had from Covid. It’s very different from Covid.”

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