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Monkey pox Disease – Myths & Facts

1.Monkey pox disease is seen only in men who have sex with men – MYTH

FACT –Monkeypox can happen to anyone.

People who live with or have close contact (including sexual contact) with someone who has monkeypox, or who has regular contact with animals who could be infected, are most at risk. Health workers should follow infection prevention and control measures to protect themselves while caring for monkeypox patients.Newborn infants, young children and people with underlying immune deficiencies may be at risk of more serious symptoms, and in rare cases, death from monkeypox.

While close physical contact is a well-known risk factor for transmission, it is unclear at this time if monkeypox can be transmitted specifically through sexual transmission routes. Studies are needed to better understand this risk. (as per WHO)2.

2. Varicella or chickenpox vaccine protects against Monkeypox – MYTH

FACT – Varicella vaccine has no impact on monkeypox disease. People around the world    
who have taken smallpox vaccination, i.e individuals older than 40-50 years age have   some immunity to monkeypox versus younger people who have never been exposed.

3. Monkeypox treatment must involve antiviral medication – MYTH

FACT – Even though one antiviral drug is approved for use in monkeypox, most cases are               self-limiting and recover with supportive and symptomatic treatment within 4 weeks. It is important to seek timely help and visit your trusted physician or dermatologist, so    proper care is initiated in a timely manner. Maintaining adequate nutrition is critical to full recovery.

4. I did not touch any patient with skin lesions like monkeypox, so I can’t get the disease – MYTH

FACT – Monkeypox spreads from person to person through close contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash, including through face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. We are still learning about how long people with monkeypox are infectious for, but generally they are considered infectious until all of their lesions have crusted over, the scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath.

Environments can become contaminated with the monkeypox virus, for example when an infectious person touches clothing, bedding, towels, objects, electronics and surfaces. It is also possible to become infected from breathing in skin flakes or virus from clothing, bedding or towels. This is known as fomite transmission.

Ulcers, lesions or sores in the mouth can be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through direct contact with the mouth, respiratory droplets and possibly through short-range aerosols.

The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus, after birth through skin-to-skin contact, or from a parent with monkeypox to an infant or child during close contact. 

Although asymptomatic infection has been reported, it is not clear whether people without any symptoms can spread the disease or whether it can spread through other bodily fluidsPieces of DNA from the monkeypox virus have been found in semen, but it is not yet known whether infection can spread through semen, vaginal fluids, amniotic fluids, breastmilk or blood. Research is underway to find out more about whether people can spread monkeypox through the exchange of these fluids during and after symptomatic infection.

5. I can’t do anything to prevent it! – MYTH

FACT – Things we can do to prevent getting Monkey pox disease:

  1. Always be masked in crowded, closed or ill-ventilated places
  2. Wash hands frequently with soap & water
  3. Maintain appropriate distance from any colleague or friend who is showing symptoms like fever, body ache, malaise etc. which are general symptoms of any viral infection
  4. Limit contact with any individuals or animals suspected to be affected with monkey pox
  5. Encourage friends with symptoms to get tested and isolate themselves
  6. Clean and disinfect environments that could have been contaminated with the virus from someone who is infectious regularly
  7. Keep yourself informed about monkey pox in your area and have open conversations with those you come into close contact (especially sexual contact) with about any symptoms you or they may have
  8. If you have had close contact with someone who has monkey pox or an environment that may have been contaminated with the virus, monitor yourself closely for signs and symptoms for 21 days after the time you were last exposed. Limit close contact with other people as much as you can, and when it is unavoidable let your contact know that you have been exposed to monkey pox.

Spread Awareness not panic!


Dr. Pooja

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