Why doesn’t chickenpox protect you from the monkey variant?
The relationship between chickenpox and monkeypox is zero. They are completely different diseases, they just have the same name because they have similar skin manifestations. More precisely, the causes of these diseases are completely different.
In chickenpox, it is a cold sore virus, a common childhood disease. In monkeypox, it is a virus that is almost identical to the smallpox virus, which no longer occurs. They were eradicated in the 1970s. However, these animal types survive in the animal reservoir.
The relationship between chickenpox and monkeypox is zero.
Does this mean that chickenpox can be more dangerous?
They may have more serious symptoms. However, there are not many described cases in the population, there are about hundreds, maybe there are more in some African countries. We don’t know exactly. Importantly, some types have a possible mortality rate of up to 10 percent, with this West African virus reported at about one percent.
It is a strictly isolating diagnosis, and if there was a massive spread, we would have to isolate the infected. But we do not expect massive expansion.
Scientists abroad speak similarly. So you don’t think there is an epidemic like covide?
I don’t think so. Transmission is not as easy and at such a distance as with common respiratory viruses, such as covid. But it certainly cannot be downplayed and attention needs to be paid to it. However, if there are several outbreaks, it is an effort to put it out again and smallpox not to spread. There is no natural occurrence in our country or in Europe.
Most current cases of monkeypox are related to intimate contact. Can it be transmitted by droplets?
But this has nothing to do with sexual transmission. The virus is maximally excreted by skin manifestations, blisters in which there is a large amount of virus. This area is the most infectious. It is also excreted by droplets, this is true, but not over long distances. It can also be excreted in other body fluids. The fact that an infection has been reported in some clubs does not mean that it has been transmitted sexually, but that it has been transmitted by very close contact between people.
So what is the potential risk of getting a smallpox, for example in public transport?
Of course, we cannot rule this out if there is a person who has some manifestations on the skin and is infectious. As I said, the virus is also excreted from the airways, but again, let’s not imagine that the person in question infects all the people in the vehicle. No way.
Can smallpox be treated?
There is no universal cure. There are efforts to prepare a virostatic, maybe it is used somewhere experimentally or experimentally. However, there is no such product in the Czech Republic yet, and I think elsewhere in the world. So far, the symptoms are being treated. Manifestations on the skin go through certain stages. From the stain through the ridge, the blister to the crust, which then separates and heals. It takes a few days, of course, weeks before it all heals.
The smallpox vaccination ended in 1980. Can he still protect anyone?
It is more than 40 years after vaccination, so we cannot rely on the vaccinees to have protection. This is most likely not the case. Those who have not been vaccinated are not protected at all. If the disease were to spread more widely – even though we don’t think it would happen – then it would probably be considered not to be vaccinated.
At that time, however, many faced severe side effects.
It was a live vaccine. But yes, it is true that this vaccination was accompanied by complications such as fever or inflammation in the injection areas.
You ruled out your first suspected case of smallpox at your hospital over the weekend. Did you notice another?
No, it was the only one so far and we don’t register any more. It was not a serious case, he had a rash, but he did not have serious complications.