Although the disease has been described since the 1970s, the scientific community is still not fully aware of monkeypox. One of the main issues concerns the mode of transmission: contact with fluid from wounds seems to be the most common mode of infection, but there are doubts about sexual and respiratory routes.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that people with monkeypox, close contacts, and health professionals wear masks. According to current information, what is known is that droplet transmission occurs, but not how much it contributes to the spread of the disease.
Most research on this topic deals with smallpox, but as viruses are very similar, it is accepted that monkeypox is transmitted in a similar way. A 2012 study from the University of Maryland in the United States described several cases of airborne infections.
In previous smallpox epidemics in New York and Germany, patients became infected by being in the same hospital as someone who was ill, suggesting the virus traveled through the building’s air currents.
The outbreak of monkeypox in Nigeria in 2017 showed similar characteristics: cases of transmission in prison and infections were observed in two health workers who had no contact with the patients.
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Recently, several countries have registered cases of patients being diagnosed with monkeypox, a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. According to the WHO, the situation is not considered serious: the mortality rate is 1 case out of 100. However, this is the first time it has been discovered largely outside the African continent.Getty Images
The disease was first diagnosed in humans in 1970. According to the profile of currently infected patients, mostly homosexuals or men who have sex with men (MSM), specialists suspect possible contamination through sexual contact, as well as contact with the injury of sick people or droplets released during breathingLucas Ninno / Getty Images
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can transmit monkeypox by contact with contaminated body fluids or common objects (such as clothing and bedding).”Roos Koole / Getty Images
In the beginning, monkeypox was transmitted by contact with infected monkeys or rodents, and it is most common in African countries. Prior to the current epidemic, only four countries outside the continent have identified cases in history.seng chye teo / Getty Images
Symptoms include fever, headache, body and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion and chills. There are also spots that appear all over the body (mainly on the face, hands and feet) and develop creating crusts that later fall off.Wong Yu Liang / EyeEm / Getty Images
The incubation period of the virus ranges from seven to 21 days, but symptoms, which can be very itchy or painful, usually appear after 10 days.Melina Mara / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Since it is a disease that is very similar to smallpox, the vaccine against this disease also serves to prevent contamination. In severe cases, treatment includes antiviral drugs and the use of the blood plasma of immunized individuals.Natalia Gdovskaya / Getty Images
Although relatively rare and transmissible, European experts say the risk of a major epidemic is low.ROGER HARRIS / SCIENTIFIC LIBRARY PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images
In Europe, the number of cases already exceeds 50. The countries with the highest number of diagnoses are Portugal (20), Spain (23) and the United Kingdom (7), according to the AFP agency. The United States also confirmed the person was illmmpile / Getty Images
“Most people think that smallpox is usually transmitted by large droplets, but for some reason it can occasionally be transmitted by small particle aerosols,” virologist Mark Challberg said in an interview with the New York Times.
At a news conference Wednesday (August 6th), the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was still much to learn about monkeypox, but studies were being conducted to determine exactly how it was transmitted.
“The primary form is skin to skin. As for other modes of transmission, we need more research. It is important to remember that wounds also occur on the mucous membranes, including the mouth, and therefore the use of masks is recommended. Whether there is an aerosol transmission, we still don’t know, “said Rosamund Lewis, the technical leader of the monkeypox entity.
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