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

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aims to reduce public fear about the transmission of the monkeypox disease.

Officials from the CDC stated this week that Monkeypox can be spread through contact between skin and skin with an individual who is suffering from active rash. However, it can also spread by respiratory droplets.

If a monkeypox victim has lesions in the throat or mouth, they can transmit the virus to others through their respiratory droplets. According to Dr. Jennifer McQuiston of the CDC, however, this virus is not easily spread.

McQuiston stated that “this is not Covid” during a Monday call. McQuiston said that the main concern is not about respiratory spread. The main concern is the contact with other people in current epidemic settings and populations.

McQuiston says that, for example, nine individuals with monkeypox flew from Nigeria to another country without spreading the virus to anyone else.

McQuiston stated that it is not an instance where someone passing you in the grocery shop could be exposed to monkeypox.

Monkeypox’s lesions, which are what cause the disease, can be spread from the skin. People are more likely to contract the virus if they appear on their skins. Dr. John Brooks is a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division for AIDS Prevention.

Brooks stated that frontline healthcare providers must follow the usual precautions against infectious diseases in treating monkeypox patients. This includes wearing an N95 respirator mask and gloves, as well as a gown, if the patient has been particularly close.

One monkeypox confirmed in Massachusetts has been confirmed by the U.S., along with four other cases that are suspected in New York City and Florida. These need to be further examined. McQuiston explained that within 48 hours, the CDC sequenced virus samples from the Massachusetts patient to confirm it matches the sequence in Portugal. McQuiston said it’s possible that other cases will soon be reported.

Recent monkeypox cases across the U.S. have been linked to the West African virus, which is a less severe form of the disease. While monkeypox can be found in the same families as smallpox and isn’t as serious, it is still a very common form of smallpox. McQuiston explained that the majority of people infected with this form of monkeypox can recover in two to three weeks, without any treatment.

Monkeypox often begins as symptoms of the flu, including headaches, muscle aches and chills. Rashes can develop that spread to various parts of the body such as the skin, the feet, the mouth, genitals, or face. Rashes can develop into bumpy, raised skin that eventually becomes blisters. In some cases, however, the rashes are the first to appear.

About 200 cases have been confirmed by the World Health Organization in more than a dozen countries. This is unusual as the recent epidemics have occurred in North America and Europe, countries that aren’t endemic for the virus like Africa. Monkeypox usually occurs in West and Central African countries that have rainforests. These are the only places where monkeypox-infected animals live.

WHO reported this week that the virus seems to be spreading among men who are having sex right now. Brooks, a CDC official alerted gay men about the possible risk. However, he stressed that the virus can be transmitted to anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Brooks claimed that monkeypox cannot be transmitted sexually. The disease is usually spread via semen and vaginal liquids. Monkeypox is spread by intimate contact, shared bedding and sharing of bed sheets, however, Brooks said. Brooks stated that doctors and patients need to be aware that many of their current patients may have anal or sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, syphilis or other genital conditions.

Brooks explained that any person with a rash around or involving the genitals, anus, or anywhere else should seek immediate medical attention, not only for the rash itself but also for any sexually transmitted disease or other conditions that may cause it.

Brooks stated that the CDC will increase public health messages ahead of LGBTQ Pride Month which begins in June so the community is aware.

Because there are vaccines approved by FDA that can prevent monkeypox, the recent outbreak of monkeypox in several countries differs from Covid. McQuiston stated that the U.S. holds a 100-million dose stockpile of ACAM2000, an older smallpox vaccine. However, it has significant side effects, and it would be difficult to spread widely.

Jynneos is another vaccine that attacks smallpox or monkeypox. It does not carry the same risks as other side effects. For people aged 18 or older at high risk for smallpox and monkeypox, it is available in two doses. McQuiston explained that there are only 1000 doses in America, but Bavarian Nordic is expected to start increasing its production within the next weeks.

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