Hands of a monkeypox case patient

(CDC/ Brian W.J. Mahy)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has refuted fears that monkeypox is spreading rapidly to over a dozen nations, claiming that the virus does not travel via air like COVID-19.

The CDC noted that the monkeypox virus transmission requires close contact with an infected person, CNBC reported. It can, however, spread through respiratory droplets, though not as easily as COVID-19, quotes Dr Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official. A monkeypox patient with lesions in their throat or mouth can spread the virus through respiratory droplets if they are around someone else for an extended period of time.

“This isn’t COVID-19,” McQuiston clarified, adding that respiratory spread isn’t a major concern. In the current outbreak scenario and population, it is contact and intimate contact.

For example, nine people with monkeypox took lengthy flights from Nigeria to other countries without infecting anyone else on the planes, according to McQuiston.

“It’s not a situation where if you’re passing someone in the grocery store, they’re going to be at risk for monkeypox,” she said.

It is primarily spread through sustained physical contact such as skin-to-skin touch with someone who has an active rash, CDC officials said. The virus can also spread through contact with materials that have the virus on them —  like shared bedding and clothing.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current outbreak of the monkeypox virus is primarily spreading through sex among men, as seen in several cases in many European countries, particularly the UK and Spain.

While the virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection — which are generally spread through semen and vaginal fluids — the most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among men who have sex with other men, WHO officials said, emphasising that anyone can contract monkeypox.

The lesions that characterise monkeypox are the source from which the virus spreads, and people are most infectious when these lesions appear on the skin, explained Dr John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s division for AIDS prevention.

When treating a patient with monkeypox, however, Brooks claimed front-line that healthcare providers should follow conventional infectious disease precautions, such as donning an N-95 respirator mask, gloves, and a gown if contact with the patient is very close.

The WHO has identified about 200 confirmed or suspected cases. No-associated deaths have been reported so far. While the global health body has warned of a surge in cases even as surveillance increases, it has assured that the virus is also containable.

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The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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