The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that it is to be expected that cases of chickenpoxa disease that has been detected in the last ten days in twelve countries, including Spain, but whose fhollow and contagion route has not yet been established.
“The situation is evolving to such an extent that WHO believes there will be more smallpox cases being identified as surveillance is extended to non-endemic countries,” the organization said. So far, 92 cases have been confirmed and there are 28 suspects, according to agency data.
risk of contagion
Current information indicates that those most at risk of contagion are those who have close physical contact with someone infected and with symptoms.
Of the reported cases, it was not possible to establish that any of those affected had been in an endemic area for this disease and were detected mainly (although not exclusively) among men who have sex with other men.
“The identification of confirmed or suspected cases without travel links to endemic areas is a very unusual event,” the organization acknowledged.
WHO has indicated that it is working on guidelines for protect healthcare professionals frontline workers and other healthcare workers who may be more exposed than others, such as domestic workers.
The genomic sequence obtained from a swab from a case in Portugal revealed a similarity to the smallpox virus exported from Nigeria and which caused outbreaks in the UK, Israel and Singapore between 2018 and 2019.
monkeypox is a zoonosis (virus transmitted to humans by animals) and its symptoms are similar to those seen in the past in patients with smallpox, although with less severity.
Its transmission occurs through contact with wounds, body fluids, droplets and contaminated material, such as bedding, and its incubation period is usually from six to thirteen days, although it can go up to 21 days.
The immunity against this disease it is very rare among young people, as the population under 40 or 50 years of age has not received the smallpox vaccine and the virus has not been present in non-endemic countries.
The endemic countries are: Benin, Camerún, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana (here it has only been identified among animals), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Sierra Leona and Sudan southern.