CDC says monkeypox is not contagious by air: ‘This is not Covid’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to allay public concern about how the monkeypox virus is transmitted, stressing that it is not easily spread through the air because of the need for close contact with an infected person. sick.

CDC officials said this week that monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact with a person with a rash. But it can be spread through respiratory droplets, although not as easily as Covid, they said.

Monkeypox patients with lesions in their throat or mouth can spread the virus through respiratory droplets if they are around other people for a long time. However, the virus is not easily spread this way, according to Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official.

“This is not Covid,” McQuiston told reporters on Monday’s call. “Respiratory spread is not the main concern. It is close contact and contact in the current outbreak context and population.”

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

“It’s not a situation where if you walk past someone in the grocery store, they put them at risk of monkeypox,” McQuiston said.

John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s AIDS division, the lesions that characterize smallpox in monkeys are the source of the virus, and humans are most contagious when the lesions are present. This appears on the skin.

However, Brooks said frontline healthcare providers should use standard precautions for infectious diseases when treating monkeypox patients, including wearing an N95 mask, Gloves and gown if patient contact is particularly close.

The United States has confirmed one case of monkeypox in Massachusetts and four presumptive cases in New York City, Florida and Utah that require further analysis. The CDC sequenced the virus from a Massachusetts patient within 48 hours and found that it matched the sequence of a patient in Portugal, McQuiston said. It is likely that other cases will be reported in the coming days, she added.

Recent cases of monkeypox in the US and around the world have been attributed to the West African strain, a milder form of the virus. Monkeypox is in the same family as smallpox, but not as serious. Most people infected with this type of monkeypox recover within two to four weeks without specific treatment, says McQuiston.

Monkeypox usually begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then progresses to 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 turn into blisters. However, the rash has appeared first in some recent cases.

The World Health Organization has identified about 200 confirmed or suspected cases in at least a dozen countries. The recent outbreaks are unusual as they are occurring in countries in North America and Europe, where the virus is not endemic, as in Africa. Monkeypox is commonly found in several countries of West and Central Africa that have tropical forests where animals that carry the virus live.

The virus appears to be spreading among men who have sex with men, the World Health Organization said this week. Brooks, the CDC official, warned gay and bisexual men of the potential risk, though he stressed that anyone can contract the virus regardless of sexual orientation.

Brooks said monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it is usually spread through semen and vaginal fluids. However, monkeypox is not spread through intimate contact and sharing beds, he said. Brooks says it’s important for doctors and individuals to know that some patients currently have anal or genital lesions that can be confused with sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or syphilis in addition to chickenpox.

“Anyone with a rash or lesions around or involving their genitals, their anus, or any other place they have not seen before, needs a full evaluation, both for that rash but especially for sexually transmitted infections and other illnesses that can cause the rash,” says Brooks.

CDC plans to strengthen public health messaging ahead of LGBTQ Pride Month, which begins in June, to make people in the community aware of the situation, Brooks said.

The recent monkeypox outbreaks in many countries are also different from Covid because there is a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is effective in preventing smallpox in monkeys. McQuiston said the US has a stockpile of 100 million doses of an older generation smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000 that can be used for monkeypox, although it can have significant side effects and any decisions. Any major distribution decision requires serious discussion.

There is another vaccine, Jynneos, that targets smallpox and monkeypox and doesn’t have the same significant risk of side effects. It is given as two doses to people 18 years of age and older who are at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox. However, the US only has 1,000 doses of the vaccine, although Bavarian Nordic will begin ramping up production in the coming weeks, McQuiston said.

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