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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Dodging the monkeypox bullet

It appears we dodged a bullet on with the monkeypox infections here in Wisconsin a couple of years ago. From the Marshfield News Herald:
Monkeypox, a less deadly relative of smallpox, kills up to 10 percent of its victims in Africa.
New research finds that there are two distinct strains of the virus, and that the U.S. outbreak involved the weaker West African one rather than the more deadly Congolese one. The illness was spread by prairie dogs after they were infected by imported African rodents at a pet distribution center.

"If it had come from Congo, we might have had a bigger problem on our hands and very well might have seen patient deaths," said Mark Buller, a St. Louis University virologist who led the federally funded study, published Friday in the journal Virology.
Because we were fortunate to see the weaker version of the illness, monkeypox shall remain a funny thing to say in the Western Hemisphere.