Monkeypox will not spread like Covid, says epidemiologist

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The Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) held a briefing on May 23 regarding the epidemiological situation in the world in relation to the spread of the monkeypox virus.

According to World Health Organization, since 13 May 2022, cases of monkeypox have been reported to WHO from 12 Member States that are not endemic for the monkeypox virus, across three WHO regions. Eight of these countries are in the European Union (EU). 

SPKC epidemiologist Jurijs Perevoščikovs said no cases of this disease have been identified in Latvia or neighboring countries at the moment. He said that there were 92 laboratory-confirmed cases in the world today, "mainly young men who had had sexual contact with other men" but not exclusively, and "the virus does not care whether it is a man or a woman."

In view of the information currently available, the virus has no such distribution potential as Covid-19, since the spread rate is rather slow and the incubation period is long. In addition, the infection requires close contact skin-to-skin, contact with objects used by the infected person, such as bed linen, or the infection has the potential to spread during long and close talks, he explained. 

In Latvia, vaccination against pox was stopped in 1980. Perevoščikovs said that currently there is no way to get vaccinated against pox in Latvia as there are very few countries in the world where vaccines still remain. In case this virus spreads, there might be a return to widespread vaccination.

Latvian epidemiologists are monitoring the situation and informing family doctors, infection specialists, urologists, dermatologists and other doctors.

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