Washington, May 25 (IANS): Amid the recent scare of monkeypox spreading rapidly to over a dozen countries, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dispelled fears saying that the virus doesn' spread via air as Covid-19.
The CDC noted that the monkeypox virus transmission requires close contact with an infected person, CNBC reported. Although it can spread through respiratory droplets as well, but not nearly as easily as Covid-19, they said.
A monkeypox patient with lesions in their throat or mouth can spread the virus through respiratory droplets if they are around someone else for an extended period of time. However, the virus does not spread easily that way, Dr Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official was quoted as saying.
"This is not Covid," McQuiston said, adding "Respiratory spread is not the predominant worry. It is contact and intimate contact in the current outbreak setting and population."
For example, nine people with monkeypox took lengthy flights from Nigeria to other countries without infecting anyone else on the planes, according to McQuiston.
"It's not a situation where if you're passing someone in the grocery store, they're going to be at risk for monkeypox," she said.
It is primarily spread through sustained physical contact such as skin-to-skin touch with someone who has an active rash, CDC officials said. The virus can also spread through contact with materials that have the virus on it like shared bedding and clothing.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current outbreak of the monkeypox virus is primarily spreading through sex among men, as seen in several cases in many European countries, particularly the UK and Spain.
While the virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection, which are generally spread through semen and vaginal fluids, the most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among men who have sex with other men, WHO officials said, emphasising that anyone can contract monkeypox.
The lesions that characterise monkeypox are the source from which the virus spreads, and people are most infectious when these lesions appear on the skin, Dr John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC's division for AIDS prevention, was quoted as saying.
However, Brooks said front-line health-care providers should use the standard precautions for infectious diseases when treating a patient with monkeypox, including wearing a N95 respirator mask, gloves and a gown if contact with the patient is particularly close.
The WHO has identified about 200 confirmed or suspected cases. No-associated deaths have been reported so far. While the global health body has warned of a surge in cases even as surveillance increases, it has assured that the virus is also containable.