Monkeypox: A New Challenge

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).  Monkeypox is an orthopoxvirus that causes disease that is similar but not as severe as smallpox and is endemic to central and western Africa.  Since May of 2022, monkeypox has been reported in countries where the virus is not endemic.  Monkeypox has become the most important orthopoxvirus with public health significance since smallpox was eradicated in 1980.  Monkeypox symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash (pimple or blister like appearance) on various parts of the body.  The latter progresses through different stages before healing is complete.  Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with lesions, body fluids, or respiratory droplets from an infected person or animal, or with material (e.g., contaminated bedding) contaminated with the virus.   

Emory is a leading academic medical center and is at the forefront of emerging pathogens research.   Emory researchers are quickly preparing to develop diagnostic assays and antiviral compounds for detecting and treating monkeypox.  Because of the severity and transmissibility of this virus, stringent controls are required to work with monkeypox.   The Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO) is currently collaborating with researchers to facilitate research with monkeypox including coordinating immunizations, evaluating facility requirements, and protocol evaluation for approval prior to commencing work. This critical research will be conducted in Biosafety Level 3 facilities which are high containment labs that are specifically engineered to contain infectious agents using HEPA filtration, ventilation, enhanced security, and require very rigorous training and operational guidance.   EHSO serves as a collaborative partner with the research community to facilitate safe and responsible research.  Please contact EHSO for additional information.

This entry was posted in EHSO and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.