Practical Guide: Everything you need to know about monkeypox

Practical Guide: Everything you need to know about monkeypox


How is monkeypox transmitted? Combating ignorance about this disease and facilitating its prevention are the objectives of the guide published by the Spanish Society of Epidemiology.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans: contagion is through close contact with infected skin, body fluids, or respiratory droplets of an infected person. This is one of the answers that can be found in the guide that epidemiologists have created to explain What is monkeypox, when were the first cases reported or what is the vaccination schedule? most appropriate depending on exposure level.

The origin of the disease

The document first explains what exactly monkeypox is and how it differs from the smallpox virus, which was eradicated back in the 1980s. no smallpox virus and that it is transmitted outside its usual endemic area (Central and West Africa), making it necessary to exercise strict epidemiological control over it.

The SEE offers a number of basic tips for avoiding the disease. In addition to sexual contact, it can also be transmitted in other situations involving sustained and prolonged physical contact, as well as through contact with contaminated objects such as bedding, bandages, dishes, etc.

A person is considered contagious from the time the enanthema—lesions in the oral mucosa—appears until the lesions heal and a new layer of skin forms.

The time of isolation

For this reason, infected should stay isolated until all skin lesions have healed and in particular avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals.

The incubation period can 5 and 21 daysand the clinical picture usually begins with a combination of symptoms such as Fever, headache, muscle pain, characteristic skin lesions and swollen glands.

In terms of severity, epidemiologists point out that cases in the current outbreak are milder than those described in West Africa and are unlikely to result in hospitalizations. However, remember that lesions on the skin and mucous membranes are very annoying.

vaccination strategy

The smallpox vaccine can protect people from monkeypox because of the similarity between the two viruses. In addition, antibodies produced against the smallpox virus also protect against monkeypox. In Spain, vaccination against smallpox was given until 1979 and given at the age of 20 months.

In 2013, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Imvanex vaccine for the prevention of smallpox in adults. This Friday has again officially recommended the use of the Imvanex smallpox vaccine to prevent monkeypox as well.

Various countries in the European Union, including Spain, are already using this drug against monkeypox, but not without prior consultation with the EMA, which has already classified it as a “potential” vaccine against this disease due to its resemblance to the smallpox virus, community sources told EFE.

In fact, Canada and the United States, whose governments worked together to develop the vaccine, have already approved its use to prevent cases of monkeypox.

And that’s how it happened EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) based its recommendation on several animal studies that “demonstrated protection against monkeypox virus in non-human primates vaccinated with Imvanex,” EMA said in a statement.

“The CHMP considered that the effectiveness of Imvanex in preventing monkeypox in humans could be inferred from these studies,” the agency continued, explaining that the drug had done so “mild” or “moderate” side effects, although in each case “the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks”. EMA will now continue to collect data to confirm the effectiveness of the monkeypox vaccine.

Who should be vaccinated

The World Health Organization and other international organizations recommend vaccination prior to exposure Healthcare workers at high risk of exposure, laboratory workers working with orthopoxviruses, and laboratory workers performing diagnostic tests for monkeypox.

Outbreak response team members who may be designated by national health authorities, and close contacts of confirmed cases.

Vaccination prior to exposure is recommended. under the age of 45 who engage in risky sexual practices and medical personnel who care for people with high-risk practices and laboratory personnel who handle potentially contaminated samples.

The WHO’s response

The WHO this Saturday declared an international health emergency, its highest alert level, due to the current outbreak of monkeypox, which has already seen more than 16,000 cases (five of them fatal) in 75 countries, many of them in Europe, where the disease was not endemic.

That WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusannounced this decision at a press conference, although two days earlier the emergency committee for the disease, composed of 15 experts, largely rejected this statement (Tedros himself revealed that nine of them were against and six in favor). .

with it three international health emergencies in force worldwide as it is added to that declared by Covid since the end of January 2020 and activated since 2017 by serious polio outbreaks in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan or Nigeria.

Tedros stressed that despite the global alarm, the outbreak is “primarily focused on men who have sex with other men and with multiple partners” (98% of cases so far), a group for which he requested support through health care and information campaigns about the disease. This, he asserted, must be done using methods that protect the dignity and human rights of the communities concerned because, he affirmed, “the stigma and discrimination They can be as dangerous as any virus.

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