Expert says monkeypox ‘not pandemic’

Monkey POX under microscope CDC

Despite the epidemic curve of monkeypox appearing to be in the ascendancy, a Greek health official said on Saturday that he does not expect it to spiral out of control, to “alarming” proportions.

“It is a phenomenon that we are monitoring closely and the diagnoses will increase in the coming days, though not at an alarming level.

It does not have the dynamics that the [SARS-CoV-2] coronavirus had and I do not think we will have a pandemic,” said Gikas Magiorkinis, a clinical virologist and a member of the Health Ministry’s committee of experts, in comments to the FM agency on Saturday.

“I estimate that in the next 15 days the intensity of the phenomenon will decrease,” he said.

Referring to the transmission of the virus in specific countries, such as the United Kingdom where cases have tripled in recent days, he said “there is no doubt that there are transmissions that take place within these borders… and it appears that there is a high probability that it has been transmitted through very close contact.” 

As to the question of why the virus, which is known from the distant past, has now reappeared, he said there is no answer. 

However, he said that social contacts have increased dramatically after two years of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and that this may have contributed to the outbreak.

With regard to the debate that has been taking place in recent days, that this particular virus may have appeared two years ago, Magiorkinis said this is a theory formulated by Belgian colleagues, who read the genome of the virus from different patients.

“Based on the molecular footprint of these viruses, they estimate that it could circulate for a longer period of time than we see now,” he said.