A new health alert has spread worldwide due to the confirmation of several cases of monkeypox, a re-emerging zoonotic disease, that is, it can pass from animals to humans. In recent weeks, confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in European countries, and even in Latin America.
Dr. Nicolás González, pediatric infectologist of the Department of Intrahospital Infection Control and Epidemiology of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the UNA, reveals more data about this disease that was first described in the 70s, and that produces fever , skin rash, erythema (redness of the skin) and bullous lesions similar to smallpox and adenopathy (swollen glands in the neck, armpits, etc).
Originally transmitted by the monkey, in this circumstance the contagion occurs from person to person, unlike covid and other types of viruses that are transmitted by air.
The monkeypox virus is transmitted by droplets, through close contact with infected people, animals or samples that enter the body through breaks in the skin, mucous membranes or respiratory tract. “It is less transmissible for this reason, since the contact is required to be closer so that there is contagion, for example through sneezing, sharing utensils, glasses or cutlery.”
The incubation period is usually between 7 and 14 days, although it can be shortened up to 5 days or extended up to 21 days. It is diagnosed through clinical suspicion due to epidemiological history, either by having been in countries or in contact with infected people. In case of presenting signs and symptoms compatible with the disease, the demonstration of the virus is indicated by means of PCR in a sample of the lesions, generally cutaneous.
The professional stated that it is a virus similar to smallpox, which has already been eradicated several decades ago by the vaccine. Therefore, it is preliminarily believed that the smallpox vaccine could offer great protection against this disease.
“In this way, there is also worldwide talk of using or boosting the smallpox vaccine again for greater protection, but depending on the type of virus, it is generally a mild infection,” he pointed.
Regarding the complications that could occur, he argued that, according to what has been observed up to now in a preliminary way, in general, the vast majority have a mild disease and it is more prevalent in adults. He stated that although there are no reports of cases of infected children; this does not rule out that the virus can also manifest itself in pediatric patients.
Regarding the lethality of the virus, he maintained that most people with it make a complete recovery. According to data from previous years, the mortality figure depends on the strain, and can reach a rate of 1% and 10%.