Research, Technology

Monkeypox infects the brain and mutates

The world did not have time to recover from the pandemiccoronavirus, as humanity shuddered from another disturbing news - monkeypox began to spread across the planet. Fortunately, this virus has not been as deadly as SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. However, this is not the time to rejoice. A few days ago, the first confirmed death from monkeypox was reported in the United States. The fact that the disease can lead to death was known from the beginning. However, scientists have recently learned that the virus can lead to such dangerous consequences as inflammation of the brain and confusion. But the most frustrating thing is that the bad news about the virus does not end there.

Scientists find that monkeypox causes inflammation of the brain

Monkeypox causes brain inflammation

British scientists analyzed 19studies in which 1,500 people took part. As a result, they concluded that monkeypox can cause convulsions and confusion. But the most dangerous consequence is inflammation of the brain.

Fortunately, these symptoms are rare.Only 2.7% of patients complain of seizures. Confusion of consciousness is even rarer - in 2.4% of cases. Inflammation of the brain, that is, encephalitis, and even less often - in 2% of cases. Other unpleasant symptoms were much more common, such as anxiety, depression, as well as headache and muscle pain, and fatigue. Almost 50% of patients complained about these symptoms. We talked about the symptoms of the disease in more detail earlier.

Skin rash is a characteristic symptom of monkeypox

How many people have died from monkeypox

As we said above, the other day in the USA there wasrecorded the first death from monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the fact that death was caused by this particular disease. But you should not panic. According to the Department of Health, the man had a serious immunodeficiency. He was hospitalized, but the doctors failed to save his life.

It follows that the greatest danger of diseasecarries for people with severely weakened immunity. In addition, people with eczema and children under the age of 8 are at risk of severe disease. Such people, and especially those who have severe immunodeficiency, should seek medical help as soon as possible in case of illness. Treatment should take place under the constant supervision of doctors.

Contrary to the name, the hosts of the virus are not monkeys, but rodents, such as the African marsupial rat.

According to the CDC, as of September 16By 2022, 58,000 people were infected with monkeypox worldwide. Moreover, the vast majority were infected in places where historically this disease had never been encountered before. In total, the disease claimed the lives of 18 people. That is, at the moment, mortality is at an extremely low level.

Can monkeypox mutate?

Despite the fact that monkeypox was notas dangerous as the coronavirus, it carries a high potential danger, since it can theoretically mutate. The story of SARS-CoV-2 tells us how likely such a scenario is.

The very emergence of this virus was due tomutations. In addition, we all remember how the delta strain appeared, which not only caused a new wave of morbidity throughout the world, but also increased mortality.

Monkeypox can present humanity withless unpleasant surprise. In July, German scientists published a study in which they analyzed virus genome sequences found in the lesions of 47 monkeypox patients. In addition to many small changes, they found one virus in which an entire gene was duplicated and four other genes simply disappeared. According to scientists, such changes in the genes are unpredictable and can be very dangerous.

Monkeypox virus shows ability to mutate

True, many experts argue that not yettoo much to worry about. It is known that the massive genomes of such viruses develop slowly, so it is difficult for them to adapt to elude immunity, as SARS-CoV-2 masterfully does. In addition, monkeypox is much less contagious than the coronavirus. Since it has infected a relatively small number of people, it is also less likely to mutate.

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However, everything can change.According to Bernard Moss of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, there is a bad scenario in which the virus evolves to multiply faster in the human body. This will allow him to infect more people.

Drosten's laboratory, which publishedthe study mentioned above continues to study the mutated virus obtained from a patient in Berlin. The behavior of this virus is alarming, researchers say.

“In cell culture, they show a clear difference, replicating much faster,” says Christian Drosten, virologist at the Charité.

Of course, the development of the virus in the laboratory candifferent from his behavior in real life. However, according to scientists, replication is already alarming. Therefore, the world must be prepared for any turn of events.