Although it has been described as a disease since the 1970s, monkeypox is still not fully understood by the scientific community. One of the main questions is about the mode of transmission: Contact with wound fluids appears to be the most common way of contracting the virus, but there are questions about sexual and respiratory routes.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with monkeypox, close contacts, and health care professionals wear masks. Based on current information, droplet transmission is known to occur, but its contribution to spreading disease is unknown.
Most of the research on this topic is related to smallpox, but since the virus is very similar, it is acceptable that monkeypox spreads in a similar way. A 2012 investigation by the University of Maryland described several cases of airborne transmission.
In previous smallpox outbreaks in New York and Germany, patients were infected in the same hospital as the sick, suggesting that the virus was spread through airflow from buildings.
The monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria in 2017 showed similar characteristics: cases of transmission and infection in prisons were observed in two health workers who had no contact with the patient.
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Recently, several countries have recorded cases of patients diagnosed with monkeypox, a rare disease caused by the simian smallpox virus. According to the World Health Organization, the situation is not serious: the death rate is 1 in 100 people. However, this is the first large-scale discovery outside the African continent.Getty Images
The disease was first diagnosed in humans in 1970. Based on data on currently infected patients, most of whom are homosexuals or men who have sex with men (MSM), experts suspect that the infection may have occurred through sexual contact as well as contact.Droplets released when a patient is injured or breathingLucas Nino/Getty Images
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with contaminated bodily fluids or shared items such as clothing and bedding.”Ruskull/Getty Images
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Originally, monkeypox was spread through contact with infected monkeys or rodents and was most common in African countries. Before this outbreak, only four countries outside the African continent had historically detected cases.seng chye teo/Getty Images
Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, body and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and chills. There are also spots on the entire body (mainly the face, hands, and feet) that develop and develop into a crust that later falls off.Wong Yu Liang/EyeEm/Getty Images
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The incubation period for the virus varies from 7 to 21 days, but symptoms usually appear after 10 days, which can be very itchy or painful.Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Because it is a disease very similar to smallpox, a vaccine against this disease can also prevent contamination. In severe cases, treatment includes antiviral drugs and the use of plasma from immunized individuals.Natalia Gedovskaya/Getty Images
Although relatively rare and contagious, European experts say the risk of a large outbreak is low.Roger Harris/Science Photo Bank/Getty Images
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In Europe, the number of cases has exceeded 50. According to Agence France-Presse, the countries with the most confirmed cases are Portugal (20), Spain (23) and the United Kingdom (7).U.S. has also confirmed a patientmmpile/Getty Images
“Most people think that smallpox is usually spread by large droplets, but for some reason it’s occasionally spread by aerosols of small particles,” virologist Mark Challberg told The New York Times. “
In a news conference on Wednesday (August 6), the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was still a lot to learn about monkeypox, but research was being carried out to define precisely how it spreads.
“The main form is skin-to-skin. We need more research on other modes of transmission. It is important to remember that mucous membranes, including the mouth, also develop wounds, so masks are recommended. Whether there is aerosol transmission, we We don’t know yet,” said Rosamund Lewis, the entity’s head of monkeypox technology.
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