In a statement issued last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that travelers who wanted to protect themselves against ongoing cases of monkey pox They had to wear masks to avoid contagion.
This announcement generated alarm among the world population as it warned of a possible massive contagion, similar to the COVID-19. “Wear a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect you from many diseases, including monkeypox.” However, this recommendation was removed days later, notes the New York Times.
“The CDC removed the recommendation for the use of masks in its health guidelines for travelers due to the monkey pox because it caused confusion the agency said in a statement published last Tuesday.
Despite having retracted the use of masks against this virus, the US agency pointed out that the countries with the highest increase in cases and people who have direct contact with the sick should consider wearing masks.
Despite the fact that experts have assured that the spread of the virus by airborne transmission is only a small factor in its spread, there are still no estimates or studies that confirm this theory.
The CDC urges from its portal that patients with monkeypox should wear surgical masks, “especially those who have respiratory symptoms”. Likewise, medical authorities suggest that people who live or have direct contact with those infected should “consider wearing a mask.”
Currently, more than 1,000 people in 31 countries around the world have been diagnosed with the disease and there are another 1,000 suspected cases.
In outbreaks prior to the current one, most of these infections were reported because people had close contact with infected patients or animals, but other infections occurred through airborne transmission.
Donald Milton, a virus expert at the University of Maryland, described in a study reviewed in 2012 that there were several cases of contagion of monkey pox by airborne transmission.
In 1947, a patient at a hospital in New York it infected another that was located seven floors away.
Another case occurred in Germany when, in 1970, a single patient infected many people who were on three floors of a hospital located in Meschede. The only explanation they found for this was that air currents in the building acted as a transmission path.
In 2017, scientists studying a monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria discovered that one case of airborne transmission occurred in a prison, where two health workers became infected despite not having direct contact with patients.
“It’s very ambiguous to determine what the true or dominant route of transmission is, and some of that can be addressed in animal models,” said Nancy Sullivan, a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a conference.
“That should probably be a priority in some of the lab research.”he added.
The health officials of the WHO They emphasize the role of large respiratory droplets that are expelled by infected patients and that can reach people who have very close contact.
“Infection with monkeypox requires very close sustained contact,” said Andrea McCollum, the leading expert on the virus of the CDC.
“This is not a virus that was transmitted several meters”said. “That’s why we have to be very careful when dealing with this.”
“Most people think that smallpox is usually transmitted through large droplets, but for some reason it can sometimes be transmitted through small particle aerosols.”said Mark Challberg, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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