Kai Kupferschmidt Profile picture
science journalist. molecular biologist. curious. contributing correspondent at @sciencemagazine part of @pandemiapodcast, misinfo/disinfo and all things #blue
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Jun 25 7 tweets 4 min read
Finally had a chance to read @UKHSA’s second technical briefing on #monkeypox.

It mostly reaffirms what we already knew or kind of knew. So just a quick thread.
Entire report is here:
gov.uk/government/pub… @UKHSA There were 846 confirmed cases up to 22 June.

The vast majority (99%) continues to be in men:
Of 810 confirmed cases with gender information:
- 805 were male
- 5 were female

Here is a striking graph (not including all cases): Image
Jun 20 27 tweets 26 min read
I wrote a piece about why monkeypox might suddenly be spreading in countries that have never seen a large outbreak before and what role sexual networks might play.

Story is here (and a thread to come):

science.org/content/articl… Caveats first:
At the moment monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries are mostly reported among men who have sex with men (MSM). But that could be driven in part by differences in health-seeking behavior.
Jun 15 5 tweets 4 min read
Sorry, aber das hier von @dpa (hier via @SZ) ist übelste Misinformation zu Affenpocken und in jeder Hinsicht katastrophale Kommunikation:
1. Das RKI schreibt ganz explizit für Patienten: "Das Tragen von Kondomen allein schützt in dieser Phase nicht vor Infektion." Image @dpa @SZ 2. Dürfte bei den meisten Menschen beim Sex die Schleimhaut des Penis nicht die einzige Schleimhaut sein, die mit dem oder den Anderen in Kontakt kommt.
Jun 13 5 tweets 3 min read
104 additional monkeypox cases reported in the UK since last update on Friday, according to @UKHSA.
That brings the total to 470 cases.
"There are currently 452 confirmed cases in England, 12 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 4 in Wales."

gov.uk/government/new… @UKHSA Worth remembering that there is a significant lag in reporting, as @UKHSA noted ion Friday:

"The median reporting delay, calculated here as the time between symptom onset date and date notified to UKHSA, was 10 days for cases newly reported in the week starting 6 June 2022."
Jun 8 36 tweets 14 min read
The good news is: we have vaccines that can help prevent monkeypox.
The bad news is: We’re still figuring out how effective they are, how much is available and how best to use them.
So a thread about monkeypox and vaccines.
My story is here:

science.org/content/articl… First of all: While monkeypox has caused disease and death in Central and West Africa for decades and cases have steadily increased for many years, no vaccines have ever been specifically developed to prevent monkeypox. What we are really talking about are smallpox vaccines.
Jun 5 8 tweets 4 min read
New update from @WHO on #monkeypox is out:

780 confirmed cases now from
27 non-endemic countries
(Last week it was 257 cases in 23 countries)
No deaths so far

who.int/emergencies/di… @WHO "Apart from patients hospitalized for the purpose of isolation, few hospitalizations have been reported.
Complications leading to hospitalization have included the need to provide adequate pain management and the need to treat secondary infections."
Jun 3 16 tweets 8 min read
Once again I am watching researchers scramble to understand a virus spreading and am getting a sinking feeling in my stomach as I watch new information come in…

So a #monkeypox thread on worries and whys First, to be clear:

This is not #SARSCoV2. This is not about a pandemic with millions of deaths waiting to happen.
Cases in non-endemic countries have been mild so far.
And monkeypox spreads slowly.

But let’s not let a terrible pandemic blind us to the toll of other diseases
Jun 3 6 tweets 3 min read
New report on #monkeypox in the US is out from @CDCgov and includes data on 17 US patients.
Just a few quick points since much overlaps with other papers I recently tweeted:

cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/7… @CDCgov Patients:

16/17 patients identified as MSM (17th was a woman)

17/17 were adults (average: 40 years)
3/17 were immunocompromised
14/17 “reported international travel involving 11 different countries during the 21 days preceding symptom onset”
Jun 3 8 tweets 4 min read
I agree! And here’s a start:
An Australian case described in @Eurosurveillanc.
This is an HIV+ man in his 30s.
"When examined in hospital, the penile lesions had largely formed scabs and the lesions on hands and lower limbs were painless papular pustules."

eurosurveillance.org/content/10.280…
Jun 2 22 tweets 14 min read
Some interesting papers on the #monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries just out in @Eurosurveillanc

I’ll highlight a few key things in a quick thread: @Eurosurveillanc PORTUGAL

This paper describes 27 out of a total of 96 cases identified in Portugal (up to May 27)

eurosurveillance.org/content/10.280… Image
Jun 2 5 tweets 4 min read
Discussions are ongoing to rename monkeypox clades currently called West African and Congo clade, says @mvankerkhove at @WHO meeting on monkeypox research priorities. @mvankerkhove @WHO Currently 643 confirmed monkeypox cases in 26 countries have been reported to @WHO, with more probable and many more suspect cases, says @mvankerkhove.
“As surveillance increases, as attention increases, we expect that more cases will be identified"
Jun 1 18 tweets 18 min read
“Reported cases and deaths from COVID 19 continue to decline globally”, says @DrTedros At @WHO presser.
“This trend should be interpreted with caution, because many countries have reduced the number of tests they do, which in turn reduce the numbers of cases they find." @DrTedros @WHO “We do see concerning trends in several regions: Reported cases and diseases are increasing in the Americas, while deaths are also increasing in the western Pacific region and in Africa”, says @DrTedros.
“Once again: The pandemic is not over."
May 29 6 tweets 3 min read
The acronym MSM will crop up a lot in my tweets, so briefly:
It means "men who have sex with men”. This isn’t simply gay men. It may be men who identify as straight or bisexual but have sex with men. It may be sex workers, people in prison, etc.
Point is: It’s about behaviour. I remember having a debate about this with an editor when I first used it in a German newspaper article about HIV. He felt this was not important. But it is:
May 29 6 tweets 3 min read
Talked with German health minister @Karl_Lauterbach today about monkeypox:
The worry that this virus might be able to thrive in new niche of unvaccinated people is a real concern for him. The virus might have spread mostly among MSM so far. “But it won't stay there”, he says. @Karl_Lauterbach Germany has signed contract for 40,000 doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Imvanex vaccine and is just waiting for company to sign (could happen in next hours, he says). Doses should be delivered in first 2 weeks of June.
Another 200,000 doses are ordered for later.
May 27 6 tweets 2 min read
Update from @WHO on hepatitis cases in children is just out:
- 650 probable cases have been reported to WHO from 33 countries
- 99 additional cases pending classification
- at least 38 children have required transplants, 9 deaths have been reported to WHO “The aetiology of this severe acute hepatitis remains unknown and under investigation; the cases are more clinically severe and a higher proportion develops acute liver failure compared with previous reports of acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children”
May 23 9 tweets 4 min read
"The overall risk is assessed as moderate for persons having multiple sexual partners (including some groups of MSM) and low for the broader population.”
Monkeypox risk assessment is now out from @ECDC_EU here: ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/… @ECDC_EU Worth pointing out what exactly this “moderate risk” means. It’s basically a three-step:
Apr 29 16 tweets 7 min read
Taking part today and tomorrow in a symposium on “Infections and Society - What have we learnt?” at the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg (@awhamburg)

Not sure that “we” have learnt all that much, but will collect any interesting thoughts/perspetives in a thread @awhamburg Livestream ist hier verfügbar:
Apr 27 7 tweets 6 min read
There has been a sharp rise recently in reported measles cases wordwide.
Jan-Feb 2021: 9,665 cases
Jan-Feb 2022: 17,388 cases

Now, @WHO and @UNICEF are warning of a “perfect storm” of conditions for measles outbreaks:
who.int/news/item/27-0… @WHO @UNICEF They point to disruptions due to the pandemic, delayed routine immunisations and millions of displaced people that together increase the risk as many communities are winding down measures that had been implemented to stop the spread of #SARSCoV2.
Apr 26 5 tweets 2 min read
„If you’ve been paying attention to how things work in our plutocratic society, this turn of events won’t surprise you. The arsonists routinely cosplay as firefighters.“

nytimes.com/2022/04/26/opi… „Mr. Musk operates from a flawed, if widespread, misapprehension ... In his vision, what we may, with help from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, call negative freedom of speech, the freedom to speak without restraint by powerful authorities, is the only freedom of speech.“
Apr 25 12 tweets 6 min read
Quickly catching the special session on hepatitis of unknown aetiology at #ECCMID22 before heading back to Germany. Aikaterini Mougkou of @ECDC_EU gives an update on cases in EU
Currently reported cases are higher than expected in Ireland and Netherlands, maybe Denmark.
Apr 23 6 tweets 2 min read
New @WHO update notes „169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported“ from Europe and US.
17 children have required liver transplantation; at least one death has been reported.

who.int/emergencies/di… Image „Adenovirus has been detected in at least 74 cases, and of the number of cases with information on molecular testing, 18 have been identified as F type 41. #SARSCoV2 was identified in 20 cases of those that were tested.“
19 were detected with #SARSCoV2 and adenovirus co-infection