Global reinsurer SCOR has said it does not expect the recent monkeypox virus outbreak to cause a significant impact for re/insurers.
This is due to the fact that monkeypox has relatively low mortality and morbidity rates and the existing protection among certain groups of the population.
People vaccinated against smallpox before the 1980’s are estimated to be protected at around 60% against monkeypox, but younger generations who were never vaccinated against smallpox do not have this level of protection.
However, new vaccines have been developed since then, and can be used before and after being exposed to the virus. Although there are currently no specific treatments available for infection, some available antiviral treatments seem to show some level of efficiency.
Additionally, even though monkeypox infections can sometimes be severe, it is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks.
Historically, the fatality ratio sometimes reached 11%, but in recent times, it has hovered around 3-6%. Comparatively, the smallpox fatality ratio was 30%.
Despite the recent outbreak, this is not the first time monkeypox has come to SCOR’s attention. Monkeypox was identified several years ago as a virus with pandemic potential and its characteristics were used for SCOR’s internal pandemic model.
The monkeypox virus is closely related to the smallpox and cowpox viruses, with an incubation period of 12 days and can be transmitted by contact with either infected animals or humans.
It shows similar symptoms to them, but milder, like fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes; three days after the fever starts people develop raised bumps which usually go through several stages before crusting and falling off.
Worldwide Health Organisation has recently announced that it does not represent a global health emergency at this time.