“We cannot equate monkeypox with covid”

The director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, Fernando Simón, has requested “caution” this Saturday due to the cases of monkeypox that are emerging in the country, but he has been clear in his message: “We cannot try to equate this with covid nor give an impression of risk”, He pointed out moments before participating in a conference organized by the Aragon Veterinary College in Zaragoza.

“Now there is not enough information and we must be cautious. Perhaps in a few days the situation will change, but right now we cannot give a feeling of excessive anguish. It is not a disease that has significant transmission between humans. The risk is greater if there is close and very close contact, but if it is far away, the probability of contagion goes down a lotSimon insisted.

The expert explained that, until now, monkeypox was confined to some areas of West Africa, where there were active outbreaks. “In Europe there were known imported cases and some small local transmission in the United Kingdom, and from those importations there have been wider-than-expected human transmission in some European countries. Nor can we generalize or magnify excessively,” he said.

In Spain, for the moment, seven cases of monkeypox have been confirmed. At the same time, there are 23 samples where smallpox has been ruled out (which was eradicated in the late 1970s), but the presence of orthopoxvirus was detected. “That tells us that the probability that they will be positive for monkeypox is very high. We don’t have the sequencing done to confirm it with certainty, but there is a high probability,” Simón pointed out.

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On the other hand, about the affected profile, Simón has indicated that monkeypox “is not limited to a specific population group, because it is a matter of closeness and contact,” he insisted. “It is true that depending on what type of circumstances there is more risk than another, but we must be very aware that transmission mechanisms are what they are and do not depend on any personal condition”, has nuanced “There must be very prolonged respiratory contact with the secretions, and very close, as well as with the pustules that the disease generates,” she said.

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On how much more will this monkeypox spread in Spain, the expert has specified that they do not know what its scope will be. “It is not the same if the cases have a single point of transmission or several. We are with the investigations. It is a disease with peculiar characteristics because the smallpox vaccine was applied to a large part of the population that was born before 1977, as well that it is very likely that many are vaccinated. That vaccine protects quite well against this monkeypox“, he pointed out.

“The information we have is that monkeypox only had a second generation of cases, but in recent years there have been outbreaks where up to three and four lines have been identified. Every year that passes we have a new cohort of unvaccinated population, which increases the susceptible mass. But it is not one of the most serious diseases, although it can cause death, but it is the least frequent,” he said.

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