With the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), some countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, are beginning to vaccinate against monkeypox (monkeypox), using the smallpox vaccine, which, it is believed, it can be effective since it is the same family of viruses.
In a rare outbreak of this infection, which is usually confined to certain countries in central and western Africa, the WHO has already confirmed more than 1,000 cases in 29 countries.
This vaccination strategy, called “ring vaccination”, however, presents challenges as it is beginning to be implemented in people who had close contact with the infected person, which requires contact tracing, a system that is not all oiled in many countries.
Although smallpox is an infection eradicated more than four decades ago, many countries have maintained stocks of these vaccines to deal with outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa, and because there are dozens of viruses in the same family against which they can be used.
Unlike the public health strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic, in which massive immunization campaigns were promoted, with monkeypox, vaccination is on a smaller scale, because experts believe that it is not yet a threat to the entire population. the population.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, director of the WHO, said some countries may consider post-exposure vaccination, ideally within four days of exposure, for higher-risk close contacts such as sexual partners, family members of family living in the same household and health workers.
As has been proven with COVID, stimulating vaccination is also complex. In the UK for example, less than half of people affected by monkeypox, either infected or by contact, have been vaccinated.
what is monkey pox
Is about a rare infection Caused by a virus of the smallpox family. Has been other outbreaks of monkeypoxbut never have the cases spread so widely.
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of the flu:
- Swollen glands
However, there is a big difference: the person infected with the virus that causes monkeypox develops blisters on the hands, arms and legs, and even on other parts of the body such as the back. Similar to what happened with smallpox (eradicated from the world in the 1980s thanks to vaccination), these pustules are first small and then enlarge and fill with pus. They can itch, and take weeks to go away. Once they go away, the person is no longer contagious
Although monkeypox is usually a mild illness, complications can include pneumonia, vision loss, and sepsis, or a generalized infection that can be life-threatening.
In general, a person becomes infected by contact with carrier animals such as apes or certain species of mice, through bites, injuries or eating the meat of these animals without cooking them well.
However, in this new outbreak there have been cases of infections linked to men who have sex with men, which, emphasizes the WHO, does not make it a sexually transmitted disease. This is an unusual way to get the virus. In fact, this outbreak seems to be associated with increased person-to-person transmission, a form that, again, is not the usual one.
Smallpox vaccination can protect against monkeypox, and can be used in high-risk contacts as preventive treatment after exposure. There are also at least three antiviral drugs used against this virus that are currently available in the United States.
As always, it is necessary to consult immediately with the doctor, who will make the diagnosis. And, as with most viruses, rest, staying hydrated and avoiding stress help the body do its job and expel the virus.