Monkeypox Unlikely to Spread As Rapidly As COVID-19, Risk of Lockdowns Nil: US Expert – The Weather Channel

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While the monkeypox virus has been detected in about 75 countries in just three months, it may not spread as fast as the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus, a US infectious disease expert said.

The recent outbreak, first reported from the UK on May 7, has more than 16,000 cases and five deaths in Africa; and is majorly among men who have sex with men.

But unlike COVID (which was airborne), Monkeypox is harder to transmit, according to Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases from the University of Maryland.

Taking to Twitter, Faheem said: "Monkeypox requires close skin contact with lesions, fluid. Soiled surfaces and beddings are also a risk. (But) rarely respiratory droplets can transmit."

Again, COVID-19 is a novel virus, but Monkeypox is not a new virus, and importantly "we have available vaccines to fight it". In the case of COVID, vaccines had to be developed.

"COVID-19 is peculiar because it is a novel viral strain, easily transmissible through the respiratory route, attacks a vital organ (lungs) and is deadly. If COVID-19 is like a snake bite, monkeypox is like bed bugs," the professor wrote on the microblogging site.

However, Monkeypox is still "important and concerning, but not the same" as COVID-19.

Cautioning people to refrain from "falling for fear-mongering", he explained that to curb the recent outbreak, point-of-care testing must be made widely available as opposed to the current state where only specialised labs can perform the tests. As a result, the "turnaround times are many days allowing the disease to spread unchecked".

He also suggested "strategic use of (ring) vaccination where outbreaks are identified".

Ring vaccination, which has been used successfully to contain smallpox and Ebola outbreaks, means vaccinating a "ring" of people around them rather than vaccinating an entire population, ideally within four days of exposure.

Further, Younus also projected that the cases would likely rise for months before they fall. The disease may also spread in specific groups and geographies.

However, he urged people to avoid "google experts; fear-mongering, turning the infection into business; politicising the virus; stigmatising any group".

He also lauded the World Health Organisation's recent move to declare the virus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) as "the right precautionary step by WHO".


The above article has been published from a wire agency with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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Monkeypox Unlikely to Spread As Rapidly As COVID-19, Risk of Lockdowns Nil: US Expert - The Weather Channel

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