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Explainer: Can we stop the spread of monkeypox?

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London — Since May, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 31,000 monkeypox cases.

The World Health Organization classified the spread of the once-rare disease as a global emergency in July. The United States declared a national emergency last week.

outside of Africa, 98% of cases are men who have sex with men. With a limited global supply of the vaccine, authorities are racing to stop monkeypox before it becomes a new disease.

Can monkeypox be contained?

In theory, yes. The virus doesn’t spread easily and there is a vaccine. However, only about 16 million doses are currently available, and he is the only company capable of producing shots.

Outside of Africa, there is no evidence of persistent monkeypox transmission outside of men who have sex with men. British scientists said last week that there were “early signs” that monkeypox cases had peaked in Britain, which once had the world’s largest epidemic outside of Africa.

Is this another pandemic?

No. A pandemic means that an outbreak of disease has spread all over the world. Monkeypox doesn’t spread as quickly as the coronavirus, so it doesn’t need drastic interventions like COVID-19 lockdowns.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was still an opportunity to contain the disease before it became a global problem. He said it was to encourage people to accept it.

how does it spread?

The spread of monkeypox usually requires skin-to-skin or skin-to-mouth contact with an infected patient’s lesions. It can also be transmitted through contact with the clothing or bedsheets of a person with monkeypox lesions.

It can also be spread by contact with respiratory droplets, but scientists are still trying to understand how often that happens. health Officials say there are no confirmed cases of airborne transmission.

Who is infected?

The majority of cases are seen in gay and bisexual men. The initial outbreaks in Europe and North America may have been triggered by sex at his two raves in Spain and Belgium.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99% of monkeypox cases in the United States are men. Ninety-four percent of them reported having had sexual contact with other men in the three weeks before he developed symptoms.

Nonetheless, anyone can catch the virus through close contact with an infected person or cloth that has touched an infected person.

Who is vaccinated?

As the number of arrivals is limited, health Authorities do not recommend mass vaccination. They suggest vaccination for health care workers, people who have been in close contact with an infected person, and men who are at high risk of contracting monkeypox.

Officials are also looking to expand supplies of the vaccine, Jynneos. Two doses are required, but many places only give one dose.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials approved a new strategy that would allow medical professionals to vaccinate five people in each vial instead of the maximum of one. This approach uses a fraction of the usual dose of the vaccine and administers it by injection just under the skin rather than in deeper tissues. The recipient will receive injections at intervals of two times a month.

What else can you do to lower your risk?

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has recommended that men at risk of contracting monkeypox make “safe choices” and consider reducing their sexual partners “for the time being.”

Britain’s Health Security Agency has advised people to check themselves for monkeypox lesions before having sex or going to social events, and most of the country’s cases have been reported at festivals, saunas and other events. people with monkeypox lesions should be isolated until they are completely cured. This can take up to 3 weeks.

What is your connection with Africa?

Monkeypox has been endemic in parts of central and western Africa for decades, and most people become ill after contact with infected wildlife such as rodents and squirrels. The acting director-general of Africa’s top public health agency said last week that homosexual and bisexual male sex were “unrelated” to outbreaks on the continent, saying about 40 percent of cases were in women.

Scientists believe that monkeypox outbreaks in Europe and North America began in Africa long before the disease began to spread. Samples from European cases show dozens of mutations, suggesting that the initial virus had been quietly spreading for months or years before the current epidemic was detected.

The version of monkeypox circulating in Europe and North America is less deadly than the monkeypox circulating in Africa. At least 100 deaths are suspected in Africa this year, although cases have been reported.

Who is at higher risk for serious illness?

Most people who get monkeypox recover without treatment, but it can cause more serious symptoms such as inflammation of the brain and, in rare cases, death.

Monkeypox can be serious in children, pregnant women, and people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis, and HIV. In the United States, according to the CDC, about 40% of monkeypox patients are also infected with HIV.

The longer the current outbreak lasts, the more likely it is that the virus will spread to other communities, similar to how HIV was first discovered in gay men before it became more widespread.

“Since there is some degree of intersection between the sexual networks of gay and bisexual men and those of sexually active heterosexuals, it is possible that monkeypox is more prevalent.” , says Dr Paul Hunter, University of Medicine, UK. East Anglia. “That could lead to bigger problems.”

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AP writers Mike Stobbe of New York and Matthew Perrone of Washington contributed to this report.

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Associated Health & Science Department is supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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