While till now we know that the potentially dangerous monkeypox virus emanating from Africa has two strains — west African and central African — the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed out some preventive measures.
New Delhi: The US has confirmed a case of the fast-spreading monkeypox while health authorities in North America and Europe have been detecting dozens of suspected or confirmed cases of monkeypox since early May.
While till now we know that the potentially dangerous virus emanating from Africa has two strains — west African and central African — the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed out some preventive measures.
The WHO on its website says, “Raising awareness of risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus is the main prevention strategy for monkeypox. Scientific studies are now underway to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of using vaccinia vaccine for the prevention and control of monkeypox. Some countries have, or are developing, policies for use of vaccinia vaccine to prevent infection, for example in laboratory staff and health workers who may be at risk of exposure.”
Let’s have a look at the measures WHO lists out to prevent the spread of the virus.
Reducing the risk of zoonotic transmission
Most human infections result from a primary, animal-to-human transmission. Unprotected contact with wild animals, especially those sick or dead, including their meat, blood and other parts must be avoided. Additionally, all foods containing animal meat or parts must be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission
Surveillance and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment. During human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with monkeypox patients is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. Health workers and household members are at a greater risk of infection.
Health workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions. If possible, persons previously vaccinated against smallpox should be selected to care for the patient.
Samples taken from people and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories. Patient specimens must be safely prepared for transport with triple packaging in accordance with WHO guidance for transport of infectious substances (category A).
Preventing monkeypox expansion through restrictions on animal trade
Some countries have put in place regulations restricting importation of rodents and non-human primates.
Captive animals that are potentially infected with monkeypox should be isolated from other animals and placed into immediate quarantine. Any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.