Monkeypox can be airborne, scientists warn

Monkeypox can be airborne, scientists warn

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.


“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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