the advance of monkey pox for more than 40 countries in less than two months, the warning light was lit in international health agencies, starting with the WHO (World Health Organization). As it is a virus that requires very close contact between people to be transmitted, the control measures are, for the most part, a little less severe than those of the Covid-19for example, although they may overlap in some cases.
Skin contact or respiratory droplets (close speech or kissing) are described as the main way of becoming infected with the virus that causes monkeypox.
“Human-to-human transmission occurs through close or direct physical contact (face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, mouth-to-skin) with infectious lesions or mucocutaneous ulcers, including during sexual activity, droplets (and possibly short-range aerosols) or contact with contaminated materials (e.g. sheets, bedding, electronics, clothing, sex toys)”, clarifies the WHO.
Authorities are concerned because the current outbreak has been linked to gatherings of people, especially parties.
“Meetings and events that involve physical contact, including sex, can represent a conducive environment for the transmission of monkeypox virus if they involve close, prolonged or frequent interactions between people, which in turn can expose participants to contact with injuries, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials. Planned meetings in areas where smallpox cases have been detected can be safely maintained with a few precautions and information sharing as needed,” the organization adds.
In Brazil, all confirmed cases of monkeypox so far are of people who have recently been out of the country, except for one of them, who had contact with foreigners. There is no community transmission of the disease, which does not mean that it cannot occur.
The WHO lists a series of actions that must be carried out in places where there is an outbreak of monkeypox. Are they:
• Event organizations should be aware of the epidemiology of monkeypox, modes of transmission and measures that should be taken if a person develops symptoms consistent with the disease (see below).
• Use of the list of participants in events to facilitate contact tracing in case someone is later diagnosed with the disease.
• People with signs and symptoms consistent with smallpox should avoid close contact with any other individual and should avoid attending meetings.
• Some measures taken against Covid-19 are also useful in preventing monkeypox, such as hand washing and physical distancing. “Skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact should be discouraged”, recommends the WHO.
• Close contact with someone who has signs or symptoms consistent with monkeypox should be avoided, including not having intimate or sexual contact.
• “Participants should always be reminded to apply individual responsibility in their decisions and actions, with the aim of preserving their health, that of the people they interact with and, ultimately, that of their community. This is especially important for spontaneous or non-spontaneous meetings planned”, adds the entity in its recommendations.
The WHO says it is not necessary for countries to adopt restrictions that interfere with the international traffic of travelers.
The guidelines, however, are that individuals who feel unwell, with fever and skin rashes, avoid any travel.
If you experience symptoms of monkeypox when returning from a trip, the itinerary should be reported to the health authorities.
Individuals who are identified as close contacts of monkeypox patients will be subject to monitoring and should therefore also avoid displacement.
Vaccination and health professionals
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that healthcare professionals dealing with confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox should be wearing personal protective equipment.
The Imvamune vaccine can also be indicated for this group, which is approved against traditional smallpox, but is 85% effective against monkeypox.
Other people from risk groups may also be eligible for vaccination. Traditionally, complications from the disease occur in children and immunosuppressed people.
In the current outbreak, which is mainly focused on young people, there have been no deaths so far.
Find out what still intrigues science about monkeypox