Medical

Scientists baffled by U.S. monkeypox virus outbreak

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The monkeypox virus was first detected in a lab in monkeys back in the 1950s.

But now, it’s back and infecting people.  

News 8 spoke with Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, an epidemiologist and lifestyle medicine physician, who explains more about the virus and how it landed in the U.S. 

“The first time it was actually detected in humans was back in the 1970s,” Chevinsky said. “What we’re seeing now is a little bit unique though. Primarily those cases have been in western or central Africa, and typically when we’ve seen it in the U.S. or other countries it’s been tied back to travel to and from Africa and then came to other countries by people who brought it in with them.”

But, Chevinsky says, the current outbreak has scientists confused. Since the monkeypox virus hit the U.S., scientists are having difficulty tracing it back to incoming travelers from Africa. This raises the question if the emergence is unrelated to travel and is possibly popping up in communities for reasons not yet understood.  

Chevinsky goes on to say how fast the monkeypox virus spreads is still under investigation. She wants Hoosiers to know that for most people with a healthy immune system, the virus does not pose a major threat.