Monkeypox: We clarify some doubts about this disease

Monkeypox or simian pox is a zoonotic disease, that is, a infection that has passed from an animal to humans, caused by the virus belonging to the group of the genus orthopoxvirusesof the family Poxviridae, so this pathology is similar to smallpox, but with less serious consequences. Currently, Given the registered increase in cases worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this pathology a public health emergency, which is the highest level of alert for a disease.

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“The symptoms of this disease, during the first five days (period of virus invasion), They manifest with fever, severe headaches, lower back pain, chills, severe fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. It is important to point out that, between the 1st and 3rd day after the onset of the fever (eruptive period), the phases of the rash appear, a reddish-colored skin eruption, which usually begins on the face (tongue and mouth) and spreads to other parts of the bodymainly, to the extremities as in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet”, points the Dr. Ivan Bernuy, professor at the Norbert Wiener University School of Medicine.

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Given the increase in cases, a series of myths have emerged around this disease, so the medical specialist clarifies some doubts about it:

1. It is a recent illness: FALSE. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and since then, cases have been reported in several countries in Central and West Africa. Subsequently, it has become a disease that has spread to other countries, such as the United States of America (2003), the United Kingdom (2018), and Singapore (2019).

2. Monkeypox is a disease that is only transmitted sexually: FALSE. The person-to-person mode of transmission can be through direct and close contact with an infected patient (through infected lesions, skin crusts, body fluids or secretions, and through contact with virus-contaminated materials). The virus enters through non-intact (even if not visible) skin, the respiratory tract, or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.

3. Preventive care against COVID-19 also prevents monkeypox: TRUE General measures to avoid the transmission of infections also help prevent a series of diseases that include monkeypox, among which are: the use of masks, hand washing, social distancing and isolation of people with suspected disease. .

4. Monkeypox could be a new pandemic: TRUE. The definition of a pandemic means that an epidemic has spread across several countries, continents, or the entire world, affecting a large number of people. Therefore, if the corrective measures that have been provided so far are not taken, it could become a pandemic, a term issued by the WHO.

5.This disease only affects people from the LGTBQ+ community: FALSE. monkey pox It can occur in anyone who has direct contact with an infected patient or items contaminated with the virus.

6.The contagion of monkeypox could be transmitted through pets: FALSE. Animal-to-human transmission occurs through bites or scratches from an infected wild animal, through the use of products made from infected animals, or in any other way involving direct contact with blood, body fluids, broken skin, or mucous membranes of animals in risk areas such as Africa.

7. People with pre-existing diseases have a higher risk after acquiring this disease: TRUE. Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease, with symptoms lasting two to four weeks. Severe cases occur more frequently in children and their evolution depends on the degree of exposure to the virus, the patient’s health status and the nature of the complications. Underlying immune deficiencies can cause fatal outcomes.


“In Peru, the smallpox vaccine is not currently being administered. However, it is important to mention that the smallpox vaccine does provide protection against monkeypox, since there are studies carried out in Africa that mention an effective protection of at least 85% to prevent it”added the specialist.


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