How is monkeypox transmitted? Here’s how and where the virus is spreading – NBC Chicago

As monkeypox cases continue to climb in the United States, questions have arisen about how the virus spreads and what symptoms are commonly associated with the disease.

Since May, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox.

The World Health Organization classified the growing epidemic of the once-rare disease as an international emergency in July; the United States declared it a national emergency earlier this month, just after Illinois declared a public health emergency over the virus. A total of 14,115 cases have been reported in the United States, including 888 in Illinois, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said most cases “are from much more intimate skin-to-skin contact or kissing.”

Person-to-person transmission is possible through “close physical contact with monkeypox wounds, objects that have been contaminated with fluids or wounds (clothing, bedding, etc.), or respiratory droplets after prolonged contact. face to face,” according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Here is an overview of some potential activities and whether you are at risk of contracting the virus:

Sexual or Intimate Contact: Likely

“The primary source of spread is direct skin-to-skin contact with rashes or sores, and this can and very often has included sexual or intimate contact in our cases,” said Dr Janna Kerins, Medical Director of the environmental health at CDPH.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that pregnant women can transmit the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Kissing: Possible

Close or intimate contact mentioned by health experts as a potential way of spreading the virus may include kissing, Kerins said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also notes that the virus “can be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or through intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or having sex.”

Sharing a bed or other items such as towels: Possible

“We also recommend not sharing things like towels, sheets, and other things like fetish gear, sex toys, toothbrushes, because that’s another potential way of spreading,” said Kerins.

In a grocery store or café or on public transport: unlikely

“MPV is not usually spread through casual conversation with someone, walking next to someone,” Kerins said. “It’s not even as contagious as the flu. And so it’s really that prolonged close contact, sharing bedding or clothing or direct skin-to-skin contact that spreads. So overall, you know groceries, coffee, even public transit are not ways we’ve seen this spread.”

According to Dr. Sharon Welbel, director of hospital epidemiology and infection control at Cook County Health, the virus is not usually spread just by “bumping into someone.”

“The way it usually seems to happen is there’s a lesion and it bursts or it opens up and it turns into a scratch or something you can’t even see. but a crack in the skin,” she said. “It’s not bumping into someone, being in the same room as someone, sharing a seat with someone.

Dancing on a crowded dance floor: it depends

The answer to this one is maybe.

“It really depends,” said Dr. Massimo Pacilli, deputy commissioner for the Office of Disease Control at CDPH. “Which means an event outside is definitely less risky than a crowded space inside due to the possibility of crowding, skimming and scanning. And then I introduced this element of like it really depends on how much clothing you wear so really we have a disease where a very readily available intervention is a layer of clothing and I’m aware that not all parameters, you know, are suitable for that , but it is certainly readily available to eliminate this type of risk by simply wearing more clothes.be aware that it is summer and time to have a good time, but here is a readily available intervention…so avoid that direct contact opportunity, as well as clothing, the barrier that we can provide is kind of the appropriate response as we think about events…the amount of crowds and the amount of staff and, you know, the q The amount of skin-to-skin contact there is then somehow increases the potential risk among the groups where the disease is spreading. “

Sharing drinks: Possible

Experts recommend avoiding sharing drinks or other items such as cigarettes or vapes.

“Certainly avoiding sharing drinks with others,” Pacilli said. “That’s one of the ways the disease can be transmitted and that kind of has to be avoided. And then a reminder of that kind of higher probability of spread of MPV – again, that comes out clearly when we identified and investigated those infected – it was really their enclosed spaces such as back rooms or sex clubs, or where really the focus of activity is intimate sexual contact. let’s see it spread.

Dr Patrick Stonehouse, director of public health operations at CDPH, said anything that is put in someone’s mouth should not be shared with others.

“It’s not just that there’s something about the glass specifically that it would be the route of transmission. It’s having something in your mouth and then giving it to someone else,” said said Stonehouse. “They put that in their mouths and so on and so on and so on. Right? So I think back to like during the meningitis epidemic several years ago, there was media socials going around that were just ‘Puff puff, don’t give.'”

Through gym equipment or public restrooms: unlikely

Public health experts have said the risk of someone contracting monkeypox from an infected person via gym equipment or public restrooms is “highly unlikely” and no such cases have been reported so far. ‘now.

They insisted that people should wipe down gym equipment before and after use and wash their hands after using the toilet.

In a pool or hot tub: unlikely

Experts have said that the monkeypox virus is not waterborne and therefore the risk of spread through water in swimming pools or hot tubs, especially those that are well maintained and clean, is weak.

They did, however, warn against sharing towels or clothes by the pool.

Trying on clothes in a store or touching a doorknob: unlikely

“So the virus can potentially, you know, live in some kind of bodily fluid that then comes in contact with something else, which is why we’re saying it can potentially spread through things like, you know, carrying someone else’s clothes or laundry,” Kerins said. . “That being said … the virus is also easily killed by things like disinfectants, by things like sunlight. would happen, for example, by touching a doorknob And while it’s theoretically possible that someone who has an MPV that had, you know, a wound, tried on some clothes, then took it off, then a someone else tried it, it could potentially spread that way – I also think it’s pretty unlikely to happen.”

What about colleagues who may have been exposed? Unlikely

Public health officials have said the risk of a potentially exposed co-worker transmitting the virus to another co-worker is low.

“So again, the risk of spread to colleagues is low, unless you have some kind of, like, other types of transmission – so sexual or intimate contact, direct skin-to-skin contact, you know, that you’re like living with a colleague, you know, things like that,” Kerins said. “What I can also say is that in Chicago we haven’t seen any co-worker spread and what the health department is doing is we’re talking to people who have been diagnosed with VPD and we ask them about close contacts and then we assess their risk levels too, and colleagues, we haven’t even seen the high risk of actually needing some type of vaccine because they have been exposed, so the risk of spread to co-workers is quite low.

And in the air? No evidence so far

Experts have warned there is no current evidence to suggest the virus is airborne.

What are the symptoms?

Monkeypox often begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, then progresses to a rash on the face and body.

Symptoms of the virus range from fever, body aches and rashes all over the body.

“Suspected cases may exhibit early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that may begin at one site of the body and spread to other parts,” the CDPH previously said.

Dr. Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine’s McHenry and Huntley Hospitals, said the virus causes symptoms similar to several illnesses, including chickenpox or smallpox.

“It may, to the layman, look like chickenpox or warts,” he previously said. “But these (sores) tend to be in exposed areas.”

Health experts have also said the disease could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with the varicella zoster virus.

In the United States, some experts have speculated that monkeypox may be on the verge of becoming an entrenched sexually transmitted disease in the country, like gonorrhea, herpes and HIV.

“The bottom line is that we have seen a change in the epidemiology of monkeypox where there is now widespread and unexpected transmission,” said Dr. Albert Ko, professor of public health and epidemiology at Yale University. . “There are genetic mutations in the virus that suggest why this may be happening, but we need a globally coordinated response to bring it under control.”

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