Monkeypox is a viral disease that for decades occurred almost exclusively in West and Central Africa. In May 2002, several epidemics appeared in different parts of the planet, and what until then had been an endemic disease in certain African countries, became an international health emergency in July.

It is usually manifested by fever, rashes, fatigue and muscle aches. There is no specific treatment and the symptoms often go away on their own without requiring treatment within two to three weeks.

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Finger of a child infected with the so-called monkeypox. EFE/Courtesy CDC

What is monkeypox and how is it transmitted?

It is a viral zoonosis. This means that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. However, it is also transmitted from person to person.

In the first case, the disease can be spread by coming into contact with an infected animal, usually rodents or primates. Avoid interacting with them without wearing protection, especially if they are dead or sick, and cook foods containing meat or parts of these animals in countries where this disease is endemic.

In the second case, you can contract the disease by coming into contact with a person who has symptoms. Skin rashes, respiratory droplets, fluids or scabs are particularly contagious. Similarly, contact with objects that have been in contact with the infected person can be a source of infection. The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus through the placenta.

without being one sexually transmitted infection, the virus has found its main transmission mechanism in sexual relations, especially between men of the same sex.

How to recognize it?

Symptoms can be varied. It usually causes fever, headache and muscle pain, rash and skin lesions, swollen glands, chills or exhaustion.
It is most contagious when the patient has active lesions and there is no contagion when the lesions have healed or disappeared, or before they appear.

Usually there is fever, headache and muscle aches, rashes and skin lesions.

It usually lasts two to four weeks with full recovery, although self-depressed people may experience complications. According to a study of the disease in Spain published in the scientific journal The Lancet, 40% of patients with monkeypox suffer from complications that go beyond common skin lesions. Diseases of the throat and genitals are other consequences of this disease that require medical treatment.

It is important that the sick person isolate themselves and wear a mask.

Monkey pox facts so far

As of September 13, global cases of monkeypox exceeded 58,000, with 22 deaths, according to statistics periodically updated by the World Health Organization (WHO), which places the United States as the country with the most cases. recorded (21,985).

Our country continues to lead Europe in terms of the number of cases. The Ministry of Health brings the total figure to 6,947, with an age between 7 months and 88 years, according to data from the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE).

After Spain, France comes first (3,785), with Germany (3,533) and the United Kingdom (3,345).

Outside the European continent, in the United States, there are already more than 21,000 people infected and in Brazil 6,000.

Vaccination

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended on August 19 the intradermal (under the top layer of the skin) use of the Imvanex monkeypox vaccine, instead of a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. The aim is to use a lower dose and thus vaccinate more people.

This recommendation is a “temporary measure to protect those at risk during the current outbreak of monkeypox while vaccine supply remains limited”.

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A nurse shows a vial of monkeypox vaccine. EFE/EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

On August 22, the Public Health Commission approved the intradermal administration of monkeypox vaccinewhich will allow the current doses to be multiplied by five, except for pregnant women and the immunocompromised, to whom the normal dose will continue to be administered subcutaneously.

Thus, from now on, people over 18 will be injected with a dose of 0.1 ml intradermally (pre- and post-exposure), with the exception of pregnant and immunocompromised women, who will continue to receive 0.5 ml subcutaneously. itinerary.

The full Imvanex regimen consists of two punctures 28 days apart, although lack of medication forced only one; the new strategy would also make it possible to install both, according to the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias.

Written and edited by Nuria Santesteban

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