Monkeypox: understand how transmission occurs and know what to do to prevent it – News

As Monkeypox Cases Rise in Brazil, people’s concern about how to protect themselves from the disease is also growing. Comparisons with Covid-19 are inevitable, although experts point out that this virus does not behave in the same way as the coronavirus.

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus which, although it circulates between animals, can also be transmitted between humans.

The classic form of transmission, observed before the current outbreak in countries in Africa where the disease is endemic, has always involved close contact, either with the skin or with large droplets of respiratory secretions.

Outside Africa, it has always been restricted to a few cases between people living in the same house. This is already the biggest outbreak of the disease in history – the first cases were detected in early May, in the United Kingdom and Spain.

Currently, the pattern of transmission is associated with sexual activity (95% of cases), as shown by a study published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine conducted in 16 countries.

The researchers showed that, at the moment, cases of the disease are concentrated in men who have sex with men, but anyone is liable to catch it.

This is due to “low global immunity to orthopoxviruses [família do monkeypox] and the increase in susceptible individuals,” Rosamund Lewis, WHO’s monkeypox technical leader, Rosamund Lewis, told a news conference on Wednesday.

The health agency confirmed for the first time that the disease can be classified as sexually transmitted.


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) summarizes the main ways the virus is transmitted.

• Direct contact with an infected person’s skin lesions or body fluids.

• Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate contact, such as kissing, caressing, or sex.

• Touching items (such as clothes or sheets) that have been used by someone with the illness.

how to protect yourself

With sexual contact being the main form of infection by the monkeypox virus at this time, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of individual protection.

“The best way to do this [frear a taxa de transmissão] is to reduce the risk of exposure. That means making safe choices for yourself and others.”

The WHO chief gave three behavioral recommendations:

• Reduce the number of sexual partners.

• Reconsider having new sexual partners at this time.

• Exchange contacts with sexual partners — in case of detection of the disease, this facilitates tracking.

“It is a disease that is transmitted by close contact, there are other modes of transmission, not only sexual contact, there is skin-to-skin and mucosal contact. It is important that anyone who has monkeypox isolate themselves to protect people with who lives together”, added Rosamund.

As a way to avoid the disease, the CDC gives the following guidelines:

• Not having skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox (some may look like pimples).

• Do not kiss, hug or have sex with people who have the disease, even if it is suspected.

• Do not share objects, such as cutlery and bedding, with people who have monkeypox.

Additionally, experts consulted by the TV station NBC Chicago recommend, for example, avoiding sharing drinks, cigarettes and vapers at parties.

Individuals with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis should be isolated for the period in which there are lesions on the skin – between two and four weeks.

If going out is necessary, it is important to wear clothing that covers the rashes. Those that are exposed, on the face or hands, for example, can be covered with bandages, such as those used after blood tests.

Some places, including cities in the United States, are already vaccinating certain groups of the population with the only approved vaccine against the monkeypox virus, produced by the Danish laboratory Nordic Bavarian.

Brazil so far has no orders for the immunizer.


In addition to the traditional skin lesions, a few days before, infected people may show generic symptoms of an infection. Are they:

• Fever
• Chill
• Tiredness
• Swelling and pain in the lymph nodes behind the ear, in the neck, under the arm, or in the groin
• Back pain and headache

It happens that not all people who have skin eruptions have this period of previous symptoms and can confuse the lesions, letting the disease go unnoticed.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the incubation period and possible exposure, especially through sexual contact.

Generic manifestations usually appear between five and 21 days after contact with the virus.


Testing for the virus requires the presence of at least one skin or mucosal lesion.

The examination consists of collecting material from the lesion itself. The laboratory process is real-time PCR, the same technology used in the Covid-19 exam.

In the city of São Paulo, where the largest number of cases in the country is concentrated, the city hall announced over the weekend that Basic Health Units and emergency rooms will be able to carry out the tests.

Until then, the cases were all concentrated at the Instituto de Infectologia Emílio Ribas, and exams throughout the state were carried out only at the Instituto Adolfo Lutz.

There is still no coverage of monkeypox virus testing by health plans.

What Still Intrigues Science About Monkeypox

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