1) What is meant by monkeypox or monkeypox?
It is an infectious disease widespread above all in Africa among monkeys but also in some rodents. The countries most affected by this pathology are Ghana and Nigeria. The English name was chosen to differentiate it from another virus, chickenpox, characterized by spots on the larger balls. According to scholars, the origin of this pathogen is still unknown, but it would be the umpteenth case of “spillover”, jump, between man and animal. International surveillance was already very high even before the last recorded cases even if the infection is much less dangerous than human smallpox, eradicated in the world in the 1980s thanks to a massive vaccination campaign.
2) Is the transmission of this virus from animals to humans frequent?
No, the passage from animal to man can rarely occur and then be transmitted from one individual to another. Airborne transmission (through breath droplets) is very rare while more frequent is through lesions of the skin and mucous membranes (eyes and mouth). Sexual transmission has never been defined, however it is plausible that the infection can occur through intimate relationships.
3) Does an asymptomatic individual transmit the disease?
At the moment there are no cases of contagiousness of a patient without symptoms but as a precaution the close contacts of people diagnosed with the disease are always monitored.
4) What are the most frequent symptoms in humans?
The most common are fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. Then the lymph nodes in the neck swell and after a few days bubbles appear on the skin that immediately appear as small spots. The disease usually heals in two to four weeks and typically leaves no consequences. The incubation, on the other hand, lasts about two weeks from the infection.
5) Why are we talking about alert at this moment?
Because an anomaly of cases has been reported, especially in Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, England and Italy. In our region at the moment there is only a positive observation.
6) Is the disease usually not very widespread in Europe?
Yes, it has only rarely been reported in recent years in both Europe and North America. Patients infect-
they were always attributable to endemic areas where the virus is more widespread. The phenomenon has therefore never been an alarm and even at the moment the risk of contagion is defined as low.
7) What are the strategies in place in Italy to contain the contagion?
The Istituto Superiore di Sanità has activated a control room of experts to follow the evolution of the situation. The working group is constantly confronted with the WHO.
8) Can the vaccine against human smallpox, mandatory in Italy until 1981, help stop the spread of the virus?
There is certainly a similarity between human and monkey smallpox because they belong to the same “family” of viruses. The antivaiolosa therefore offers a certain degree of protection even if the time passed since the vaccination campaign obviously affects its effectiveness.
9) Is there a vaccine for Monkeypox?
There is currently no vaccine but human smallpox vaccine could offer good coverage as a prophylaxis for people who have come into contact with sick individuals.
10) How to prevent contagion?
The precautions are the same for other infectious diseases, the ones we have constantly applied for Covid in recent months. The first rule therefore remains personal hygiene and, in case of spots or “bubbles” on the body, immediately contact your family doctor.
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