For the first time, cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Portugal. So far, “from a clinical point of view, these are very benign and very benign situations”, although the evolution is still under surveillance.
O The monkeypox virus is similar to smallpoxeradicated in 1980, and is generally transmitted by touching or biting infected wild animalssuch as rats or squirrels in West and Central Africa.
Bone cases in Portugal have been reported in the Lisbon region and the Tagus Valley and the suspects, so far, are concentrated in the same area.
Margarida Tavaresinfectious disease specialist, leader of the National Strategy for the Fight against Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Infection and also spokesperson for the “cell” created by the DGS to monitor cases of infection with the Monkeypox virus, this Wednesday brought some clarifications related to this disease.
We gather nine questions and answers which can help to understand how it is transmitted, what are the symptoms and recovery time.
How is it transmitted?
Monkeypox is transmitted through contact with animals or through close contact with infected people or contaminated material. It is a rare disease that does not spread easily among humans.
A The greatest form of contagion is contact with skin lesionsexplains the infectious disease doctor, and therefore, these, must be protected.
Margarida Tavares says that the route of sexual transmission “no classic description”but like the disease if “is transmitted by close, intimate and prolonged contact”sexual transmission is “likely”.
It is also possible to transmit by contact with objects “heavily contaminated with the virus”for example bed linen, bath linen or even the clothes themselves.
Monkeypox also shares some forms of contagion with respiratory infections, and is also describes the possibility of airborne transmissionmainly by large droplets.
What are the symptoms?
The disease is characterized by appearance of skin lesions, from “small spots” to “lesions with fluid content”. Systemic symptoms may also appear, such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches or fatigue.
In most cases, this is “a self-limiting and benign situation”.
What to do in case of suspicion?
Being aware of the signs and symptoms is the main advice of the infectious disease doctor. is at in case of suspicion, call the health services.
What if the case is confirmed?
Confirmed cases are advised not to come into close contact with other people.
Margarida Tavares warns that the The greatest form of contagion is contact with skin lesions and so these, must be protected. Even so, there are other forms of contagion, so it is should strengthen the care.
How long can recovery take?
The cure and the end of the contagion period lasts from two to four weeks.
As usual, the the end of the contagious period “occurs with complete healing of the lesions”that is to say “when the crusts that have formed fall off”, explains the doctor. However, the disease does not require specific treatment.
“Classically it’s called like that, in this situation, which is new, you have to follow up.”
Is there a more sensitive age group?
The most affected age group to date in Portugal, varies between 20 and 40 yearsroughly speaking, but the doctor considers that the the population is just as sensitiveeven though who has been vaccinated against smallpox (until 1973) may have cross protection.
The susceptibility of the cases identified is therefore not linked to age, but to the contact opportunity that will have existedexplains the doctor.
Can chicken pox be confused with monkey pox?
In its forms, chicken pox and monkey pox are similar. The main difference may be the stage of injuries.
When it comes to monkeypox, as a rule, are all at the same point of evolutionwhile in chickenpox characteristically some are already scabs, some are still papules and some are still vesicles.
However, in In the case of a monkeypox infection, it is not an absolute truth, different forms of lesions can coexist at the same time..
Monkeypox and Sars-COV-2, can they compare?
“It has nothing to do”, says Margarida Tavares. Although both are of animal origin, are from different families and the question of contagion also differsalthough they share certain routes of contagion.
Have there been other outbreaks of monkeypox?
This is the first time that this infection has been identified in Portugalhowever “there have already been some in other countries outside Africa”, specifies Margarida Tavares.
This virus was identified in a human for the first time, in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and since then there have been numerous sporadic cases or small outbreaks in several African countries, particularly in Central and West Africa.
O The first outbreak identified outside the African continent occurred in the United States in 2003, with a few dozen confirmed cases. All were associated with contact with domestic animals, which came into contact with infected rodents imported from Africa.