Ecuador has registered 7 confirmed cases of monkeypox, a disease that had emerged in the 1970s and whose reports were mainly in Africa, but in recent weeks this has spread globally.
This has led several countries to implement measures, the United States, the country in America with the most cases of monkeypox, declared the public health emergency to disburse funds, collect data and mobilize staff.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of monkeypox in several countries constitutes a public health emergency of international importance (PHEIC).
The mysterious virus that protects us from monkeypox
There is still ignorance about the disease on the part of the public, for which the organization has sought to clear up doubts.
Here are some of the things you should know about monkeypox:
What is monkeypox?
It is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. It is a zoonotic viral infection, which was first detected in 1970 in Africa.
How is it spread?
It is transmitted through direct or indirect contact with blood, body fluids, skin lesions or mucous membranes of infected animals. People can also spread it through close contact with secretions from the respiratory tract or skin lesions of an infected person, or with objects recently contaminated with the patient’s fluids or materials from the lesion.
What does the declaration of monkeypox as an international health emergency imply?
What are the symptoms?
According to the WHO, the symptoms may be different in some people since in some cases there are mild signs and in others more serious. Among the most common are fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, lack of energy and swollen lymph nodes, in another phase of the disease rashes appear on the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, neck, groin, and genital or anal regions of the body. “Initially, the lesions are flat, then they fill with fluid, and then they crust over, dry out, and peel off, and a new layer of skin forms underneath.”
Is monkeypox fatal?
Although in most cases, the symptoms disappear on their own, in some cases it can be fatal since they lead to medical complications and even death. It was indicated that newborns, children and people with immunosuppression are at greater risk of getting worse and dying.
Is there a vaccine against the disease?
Yes, there is a vaccine to prevent monkeypox and in some countries the application to personnel at risk has been recommended.
Why has there been a new outbreak of monkeypox?
The WHO specified that the current outbreak occurs mostly in men who have sex with others who in turn have had recent sexual contact with a new partner or partners, as well as a frequency of recent travel from other regions of the world.
If I have already had monkeypox or chickenpox, can I get it?
In the case of chickenpox, it is caused by a different virus, so it does not provide protection against monkeypox. Experts have pointed out that even the knowledge about immunity after monkeypox infection is still limited, so it cannot be established that it provides protection against future infections.
Is there a risk that the health situation will worsen?
According to the WHO, the disease is not as contagious as others that require direct contact, so there is still a chance to control the outbreak. “Right now, it is critical that we all work together to stop the spread, which will be achieved by knowing the risk and taking steps to reduce it.”
How to prevent contagion?
Environments that could be contaminated by an infected person should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. If you think you have monkeypox, seek medical advice and isolate yourself from others until the relevant tests are done.
If I had or have COVID-19, am I at risk for severe symptoms of monkeypox?
There is still no certainty as to whether COVID-19 affects the symptoms of monkeypox. “Further studies are needed in patients who have or have had infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or long-standing COVID-19 and now have monkeypox.” (YO)