While fighting COVID-19 and the deadly coronaviruses, the world has encountered with a new virus called the monkeypox virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) initiated its utmost alert level on Saturday in response to the growing infections caused by the latter. Since the virus is breaking out in different parts of the world, the WHO’s experts have declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The news was broken by Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In his recent address, Tedros said that the world is currently facing another outbreak. The virus has already spread around many parts of the world by newer means of transmission and still, people know and understand a little about it. What is even more noteworthy is that the news has taken over the internet due to some shocking revelations made by Tedros regarding the monkeypox virus. For instance, he mentioned that at present almost all monkeypox infections are found among gay and bisexual men. He also emphasized that this outbreak can be stopped completely if people follow the right strategies devised by experts.
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A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that the global outbreak of monkeypox infections is mainly driven by sexual practices among men. The virus has affected around 17000 people in 74 different countries. And the study states that 98% of the infection is found in the gay and bisexual male population. Moreover, 41% of the population having the virus were reported to have HIV infection.
Since the cases are now being reported outside the areas where monkeypox has been endemic, the infection must be rapidly identified or diagnosed so that it can be stopped from spreading any further. Also, it is time that people once again become careful and practice protective measures to keep the risk of infection at bay.
The best way to prevent viral contraction is to know how it transmits and block it in all possible ways. Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the monkeypox virus. Give them a read to strengthen your concepts and keep yourself safe!
What is monkeypox and how does it spread?
Monkeypox is a disease that results from the infection caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus belongs to the family including the variola virus which is known to cause the smallpox disease. This is possibly why the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox. However, monkeypox symptoms are relatively milder and rarely fatal. It was discovered in 1958 among some colonies of monkeys kept under a research study. However, the source of the disease was unknown at that time.
The virus is said to be zoonotic i.e. it can transfer from animals to humans. African rodents and non-human primates e.g. monkeys are said to be the primary host for the virus from where they can potentially transfer to humans and infect them. Humans acquire monkeypox from animals when they are scratched or bitten by them or if humans eat the meat of an infected animal. Among humans, the sources of transmission include,
- Direct contact with body fluids like cough droplets, saliva, semen, etc.
- Touching the things that were exposed to body fluids or rash of the infected individual
- The fetus can get the virus from the mother via the placenta
Can Masks Help Prevent Monkeypox?
There is not enough evidence about whether face masks are necessary to prevent the spread of the monkeypox virus. However, experts say that masking is still beneficial against the disease.
We get this question a lot to which the answer is that it is always safe to wear a mask because you never know the air you breathe may have the virus in it!
Monkeypox is said to spread mainly via direct skin contact or contact with body fluids. However, it isn’t the only way of transmission. Air can cause a substantial spread of the disease because the aerosols in our proximity could have been exposed to the body fluid of an infected individual. If you wear a mask, you will get this air filtered through the mask filters and then reach your airways. This not only reduces the risk for monkeypox but also for many other airborne illnesses.
If you are confused about masks for monkeypox, it is to be noted that the better quality mask you use, the stronger will be the protection offered. There is no one “monkeypox mask” specific for the prevention of the disease, there are many brands with a variety of options. However, we recommend you not to rely on cloth masks or ordinary surgical masks at all. If you want the best masks for monkeypox, go for high-quality N95 or KN95 face masks made in the USA.
What other precautions can people take to avoid getting infected with the monkeypox virus?
Wearing masks for monkeypox should be your top priority. Besides that, there are many other precautions that you can take to keep the virus at bay. These are as follow;
- If a patient is suspected or confirmed to have a monkeypox infection, he/she should be isolated. A room or place should be defined for them and their activity outside it must be limited. No special air handling is required for their place of stay.
- If a monkeypox patient has to travel, make sure they do so while wearing a proper medical mask with their rashes or lesions (if any) properly covered. A sheet or gown can serve the purpose.
- If the patient is subjected to any procedure that is likely to spread their oral secretions, it must be done within an isolation room. The person dealing with the patient must wear a mask, a protective gown, gloves, and every personal protective equipment for their safety.
- Any kind of waste disposal like soiled PPEs and dressings of the patient should be done according to the regulations for hazardous materials by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
- The hospitals or personal facilities accommodating the infected individuals should be regularly disinfected for environmental infection control. Wet cleaning methods should be considered for the purpose and dusting, vacuuming, or sweeping should be avoided.
Are there any treatments for monkeypox infection once someone has become ill?
For infections caused by the monkeypox virus, there are no specific therapies. However, because the monkeypox and smallpox viruses share genetic characteristics, antiviral medications and vaccinations created to guard against smallpox may also be used to treat and prevent infections with the monkeypox virus.
People who are more prone to become seriously ill, such as individuals with compromised immune systems, may be advised to take antivirals such as tecovirimat (TPOXX).
Even if you don’t believe you have had contact with anyone who has the disease, you should consult your doctor if you get symptoms of monkeypox.
What PPE is needed for monkeypox?
Healthcare workers and individuals who interact with monkeypox patients should wear the following PPE;
- Gowns and Gloves
- Protective glasses
- Face shields
- N95s or higher particulate respirators, as certified by NIOSH
How can I get more information about monkeypox and its prevention?
If you are looking for more information on monkeypox, its control, and treatment, we suggest you visit the official websites of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The information broadcasted through these websites is 100% authentic. Besides that, you can check our comprehensive guidelines on medicalsupplyall.com. We extract data from the most reliable websites and government organizations to guide our readers the best through these times of inconvenience.
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