Great Britain, Spain, USA, Australia, Germany – it is no longer possible to list all the countries from which monkeypox infections are reported. A virus that has only appeared in Central and West Africa for decades seems to be conquering the world. And after two and a half years of the corona pandemic, it is no wonder that the public is hyper-nervous and some fear the worst. But according to the current state of knowledge, there will be no pandemic with this virus.

Because there are crucial differences between monkeypox and Sars-Cov-2. The highly contagious corona virus spreads as an aerosol through the air we breathe; In this way, newly infected people pass it on unsuspectingly. Monkeypox, on the other hand, is transmitted via droplets and body fluids, and infection requires prolonged or close contact. In addition, smallpox viruses consist of comparatively stable DNA, not RNA like the pathogens that cause flu or corona. While RNA viruses mutate very easily and produce new variants in rapid succession, DNA viruses change much more slowly.

However, nothing in biology and evolution can be predicted with absolute certainty, so a dose of caution is warranted. Ironically, the fact that monkeypox can spread from person to person at all is due to a triumph of medicine: the far more deadly smallpox has been considered eradicated since the 1970s. With the end of mass vaccination, people have also become more susceptible to monkeypox. Renewed widespread vaccinations of the population are certainly not necessary, vaccinations of contact persons may be.

The many cases in far away places also show once again how quickly pathogens travel around the world in people‚Äôs luggage. Almost as fast, and that’s reassuring news, information spreads. The fact that so many cases are now suddenly becoming known is a result of increased vigilance worldwide. Hopefully this will help to contain the viruses quickly and not give them any power over our lives.