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Climate change to blame for monkeypox outbreak, says professor

Climate change is likely behind the global outbreak of monkeypox, a professor of health systems has said. 

The disease had largely been eradicated due to smallpox vaccines but the few people who do contract it usually do so in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa – often after coming into contact with animals.

“Climate change is driving animal populations out of their normal ranges and human populations into areas where animals live,” Professor Staines of DCU explained to On The Record with Gavan Reilly.

“There’s a very detailed analysis of about 40 years of data published in [the journal] Nature a few months ago that documents what has happened and predicts what may happen in the future and it’s very much driven now by climate change – and to an extent by human population growth.

“But climate change is pushing people into cities, it’s pushing animals into closer proximity with people and we’re seeing connections that we never saw before.

“So this is what living with climate change looks like.”

Monkeypox is very rarely fatal and most sufferers develop a fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms last for up to a month and the disease is transmitted through skin to skin contact, body fluids, respiratory droplets or contaminated items such as bedding and clothing.


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