The monkeypox virus is a highly contagious disease caused by a group of viruses known as the Murray Mountains Monkeypox Virus (MMRV). It’s found in Africa, where it’s most common, and is particularly virulent there. The symptoms are very similar to smallpox, aside from the fact that monkeys don’t get sick from monkeypox. In fact, humans who contract this virus almost always die from it. The worst symptoms of the virus are similar to smallpox—rash all over the body with bumps, lumps, blisters or vesicles. The rash often starts on one part of the body, spreads to other parts and then finally drops off. If left untreated, it can spread to the bone and cause deformities that are permanent. This article explains everything you need to know about the monkeypox virus and how it affects humans.

What is the monkeypox virus?

The monkeypox virus (also known as Murray Mountains monkeypox or ruddy monkeypox) is the cause of monkeypox, a severe and often fatal disease that affects macaques in the wild. In humans, it causes Treponema pallidum (P) pleocytosis which is the infection of macaques. No human cases of monkeypox have been reported in over 50 years. The last known case in humans was in a traveler from Sierra Leone who was treated with a cargadene therapy in Germany in 1964.

Monkeypox and smallpox

The two closely related closely related viruses, the monkeypox and smallpox viruses, are the same. This is one of those “gay-age” things, meaning that one virus turned into the other. In 1932, a monkey in the Indian subcontinent was found to be infected with a close relative of smallpox. Experiments started in 1934 to try to isolate the virus and in 1937 the monkeypox virus was created through recombinant DNA technology. A Canadian physician, Dr. Henry Murray, is generally credited with discovering monkeypox. He was touring a safari in the Northern Frontier District of British East Africa in 1952 when he became infected. He later wrote about the experience in his book The Monkeypox Diaries. In his book, Dr. Murray also mentioned that he contracted smallpox while serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Many believe that Dr. Murray contracted smallpox while working with the Allies in India and Pakistan.

Monkeypox and Christianity

While both Catholicism and Protestantism have a special relationship with the smallpox virus, they have very different views on how to deal with it. In the mid-19th century, Pope Pius IX created a special commission to study the effects of vaccination and its relationship to Christianity. He believed that vaccination was in contravention of the Gospels, which teach that parents should protect their children from infection by all means possible. The commission also studied the relationship between smallpox and Judaism, concluding that there was “no pretext for such a connection between the Jewish religion and the disease.” Finally, the Papal Commission reported that “It was found unnecessary to adopt the slightest legislative provision in regard to the prohibition of vaccination and its relation to Christianity.” While the commission didn’t find a connection between smallpox and Judaism, the Vatican later issued a papal encyclical, Praetermittensium, in 1885 condemning vaccination. This was the beginning of the end for smallpox vaccination in Europe. After the Papal Commission’s conclusion, the Vatican issued a strong statement condemning the “doctrine of vaccination as belonging entirely to the domain of Protestantism,” adding that Catholic dogma “regards as heretical all methods of treatment that are opposed to the principles of vaccination.”

Monkeypox and Judaism

It was unfortunate for the Jews that they were on the wrong side of the smallpox fence when the Vatican issued its verdict on vaccination. Because of their ties with the Vatican, it’s not shocking that many Jewish leaders were on the same side of the vaccination debate as the Pope. After all, the Jewish religion doesn’t include a smallpox vaccination as one of the “five pillars,” so why should it? Many leaders of the Jewish community, including rabbis and congressmen, were against vaccination. Eventually, they would form an organization, the American Board of Deputies of the Kingdom of Israel, to fight vaccination.

Bottom line

Regardless of which religion you adhere to, it’s important to be aware of the monkeypox virus and how it can affect you. The good news is that this virus is preventable. The best way to protect yourself from this infection is by wearing gloves and gowns when handling monkeys and by staying away from areas where monkeys live. Also, make sure there are no open wounds on your body that are exposed to the air, such as the face and hands. Monkeypox is easily confused with other conditions and symptoms may not always be obvious.

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