Discontinuation Of Smallpox Vaccine Might Have Helped In Resurgence In Monkeypox Cases: Experts

New Delhi:  The waning immunity in humans due to the discontinuation of smallpox vaccine has established the scope for the resurgence of monkey pox, as per a report published in the current edition of Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology. The researchers from Institute of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, have authored the article which outlines that monkeypox should not be confused with the Covid-19 infection.

“The waning immunity in humans due to the discontinuation of smallpox vaccine has established the scope for the resurgence of monkeypox, demonstrated by the re-emergence of outbreak after an absence of 30-40 years. Currently many of the cases that are confirmed are prevalent amongst individuals below 40 years of age with a median age of 31 years. Since smallpox vaccine provides 85 per cent cross protection, the program for vaccination of the unvaccinated need to be considered & road map be framed now especially for people below 45 years. High risk person’s burden need to be considered & the possible drug Tecovirimat could be stock piled,” said Dr Chand Wattal, Corresponding Author and Chairperson, Institute of Clinical Microbiology & Immunology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Dr Sanghamitra Datta, Author and Senior Consultant, has said in the study that monkeypox is zoonotic, an infectious disease that has jumped from non-human animal to humans, followed by human to human spread with average mortality of 3-6 per cent.

“Smallpox has no known animal reservoir and has only human to human transmission with a high mortality rate of 30 per cent. Monkeypox is zoonotic (an infectious disease that has jumped from non-human animal to humans), followed by human to human spread with average mortality of 3-6 per cent as stated by WHO. Lymphadenopathy is distinct in monkeypox which is not there in smallpox. Most experts agree that though infection can occur through respiratory droplets from a close contact, it does not seem to be transmitted over the distances like the Sars-CoV-2 virus,” Dr Datta has said in the study.

The study further said that since smallpox vaccine provides 85 per cent cross protection, the program for vaccination of the unvaccinated need to be considered and road map be framed now especially for people below 45 years.

“High risk person’s burden need to be considered and the possible drug Tecovirimat could be stock piled. Though PHEIC has been declared, monkeypox cannot be equated to Covid-19 in any way but our learning from the pandemic can help. Preparedness is the key. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark!.” Dr Wattal further added.

(IANS)