CDC says monkeypox doesn’t spread easily by air: ‘This is not Covid’

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  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact and people are most contagious when they have a rash on their bodies.
  • The virus can also be spread through respiratory transmission when a person has sores in the throat or mouth, but this requires prolonged contracting.
  • “It’s not Covid,” said Dr Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official. “Respiratory spread is not the major concern. It is contact and intimate contact in the current outbreak setting and population.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to quell public concern about how the monkeypox virus is transmitted, emphasizing that it does not spread so easily through the air because it requires close contact with an infected person. .

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CDC officials said this week that monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active rash. But it can spread through respiratory droplets, though not as easily as Covid, he said.

The virus can be spread through respiratory droplets from a monkeypox patient with sores in their throat or mouth if they are around someone else for a long time. However, according to Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official, the virus does not spread easily in this way.

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“This is not Covid,” McQuiston told reporters on a call Monday. “Respiratory spread is not the major concern. It is contact and intimate contact in the current outbreak setting and population.”

For example, according to McQuiston, nine people with monkeypox took long flights from Nigeria to other countries, without infecting anyone else.

“It’s not a situation where if you’re passing someone to the grocery store, they’re going to be at risk of monkeypox,” McQuiston said.

According to Dr. John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC Division for AIDS Prevention, the lesions characteristic of monkeypox are the sources from which the virus spreads and people are most contagious when these sores appear on the skin.

However, Brooks said that frontline health care providers should use standard precautions for infectious diseases when treating a patient with monkeypox, including wearing an N95 respirator mask, gloves and a gown if contact with the patient is particularly severe. is close.

The US has confirmed one monkeypox case in Massachusetts and four probable cases in New York City, Florida and Utah, which need further analysis. McQuiston said the CDC sequenced the virus from a Massachusetts patient within 48 hours and found it matched the sequence of a patient in Portugal. He said that more cases are likely to come to the fore in the coming days.

Recent cases of monkeypox in the US and around the world have been identified as a West African strain, a milder form of the virus. Monkeypox is in the same family as smallpox, but it is not as serious. McQuiston said most people who are infected with this strain of monkeypox recover in two to four weeks without specific treatment.

Monkeypox usually begins with flu-like symptoms that include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, tiredness and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then turns into a rash that can spread to different parts of the body including the face, eyes, hands, feet, mouth or genitals. These rashes turn into raised bumps that become blisters. However, rashes have been the first to appear in some recent cases.

The World Health Organization has identified nearly 200 confirmed or suspected cases in at least a dozen countries. Recent outbreaks are unusual because they are occurring in North American and European countries where the virus is not endemic, such as in Africa. Monkeypox is commonly found in West and Central African countries along rainforests where animals carrying the virus live.

The WHO said this week that the virus is spreading among men who are currently having sex with men. CDC official Brooks alerted gay and bisexual men to the potential risk, though he emphasized that anyone can catch the virus, regardless of sexual orientation.

Brooks said monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, which is usually spread through semen and vaginal fluids. However, monkeypox spreads through intimate contact and shared bedding, he said. Brooks said it’s important for physicians and individuals to be aware that some current patients have anal or genital sores that can be confused with sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or syphilis in addition to chickenpox.

“Anyone who has a rash or sores on their genitals, their anus, or any other location that they have not seen before should be thoroughly evaluated, both for that rash, but especially for sexually transmitted infections.” And for other diseases that can cause a rash,” Brooks said.

The CDC plans to increase its public health message ahead of LGBTQ Pride Month, which begins in June, so people in the community are aware of the situation, Brooks said.

The recent outbreak of monkeypox in many countries is also different from COVID because there are already vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration that are effective in preventing monkeypox. McQuiston said the US has a stockpile of 100 million doses of an older-generation smallpox vaccine, called ACAM2000, which can be used for monkeypox, although it can have significant side effects and is widely distributed. Any decision to do so would require serious discussion, McQuiston said.

There is another vaccine, GeniOS, which targets smallpox and monkeypox and does not carry the same risk of significant side effects. It is given in two doses for people 18 years of age and older who are at high risk of smallpox or monkeypox. Although the US only has 1,000 available doses of this vaccine, the company, Bavarian Nordic, will begin ramping up production in the coming weeks, McQuiston said.

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