Monkeypox: Vet who caught disease in 2003 says new outbreak is a ‘wake-up call for the world’ | World News


A vet who contracted monkeypox during the largest outbreak in US history almost 20 years ago has said new cases of the disease are a wake-up call for the world.

Dr Kurt Zaeske contracted the virus in 2003 while caring for sick prairie dogs on a breeding farm.

He was treated in hospital after suffering from a number of symptoms including nausea, dizziness, fever, sweats, and fatigue.

And he feared he may lose his thumb after a painful lesion appeared.

A new outbreak of monkeypox is spreading across the world, with 19 countries confirming infections, including around 82 cases in the UK.

And Dr Zaeske believes action must be taken now.

“I feel that this is a wake-up call for the rest of the world because it is now so cosmopolitan – there’s so much mobility,” he told Sky News.

“We’re probably only three or four degrees of separation from an exotic animal disease

“We have to be much more vigilant looking for these things, and I think we may need to consider vaccinating.”

During the outbreak in 2003, Dr Zaeske said people who had received a smallpox vaccine suffered less from monkeypox than those who had not.

Read more: What are the symptoms of monkeypox, and how do you catch it?

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Monkeypox: Your questions answered

Some experts believe the outbreak, which is endemic to West Africa, is spreading because smallpox vaccination campaigns ended in the 1970s, leaving many people under the age of 50 without protection.

Dr Zaeske believes countries should consider stocking up on smallpox vaccines as a precaution.

After contracting the disease, the former vet said he fully recovered after around two weeks of being treated with antibiotics.

However, he still has a scar on his thumb where the lesion was removed.


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