Monkeypox: Could it become the next pandemic?

By Geraldine A. Guzmán Castillo, Specialized Coordinator of the Faculty of Health of the Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN).

Since the eradication of smallpox in the 1980s, monkeypox assumed a prominent role affecting human communities. Considered a rare disease, originating in Africa, where it is endemic. The monkeypox it is a zoonosis (virus transmitted to humans from animals) and its symptoms are similar to those suffered by smallpox patients, although with less severity.

Since May, reports of confirmed cases began in Europe, then in Canada and the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 6,027 in 59 countries and declared it a global disease with a “moderate” level of risk.

The monkeypox it is manageable, since infection in humans can be controlled. There are antivirals and vaccines that, depending on the state, can be used depending on the risk in each country. On the other hand, the next pandemic could not be envisaged if we compare it with the COVID-19[feminine]because the monkeypox is an already known disease, it is less transmissible than COVID-19[feminine] and it only spreads if the patient is symptomatic, which cuts the chain of transmission.


Current information indicates that its transmission is through contact with wounds, bodily fluids, droplets and contaminated material, such as bedding; and its incubation period is rapid during the first week, although it can last up to 21 days.

In early May, the clinical manifestations were related to the typical rash so characteristic of human smallpox (face, body, hands and feet); now, after the incubation period, flu-like signs and symptoms appear. Some do not have a fever, a localized rash appears on the genitals and does not spread to other areas; others experience headaches, fatigue, among others. Currently, it is suspected that it can be transmitted through genital secretions and bodily fluids.

Although there is no vaccine developed specifically against monkeypoxsome countries use the injection against smallpox because it offers more than 80% protection since the two viruses are quite similar.

The Ministry of Health (MINSA) indicates that we are on epidemiological alert. An epidemiological alert is issued and disseminated each time there is suspicion of a situation of potential risk for the health of the population, in the face of which it is necessary to develop urgent and effective public health actions. It should be clear that to date, 29 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Peru.


Living space

What measures have been taken since the appearance of the first cases of monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a disease caused by viruses transmitted from animals to humans) that produces symptoms similar to those seen in patients with smallpox in the past, although less severe. With the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and the subsequent discontinuation of smallpox vaccination, monkeypox became the most important orthopoxvirus for public health, according to the World Health Organization. This morning, Dr. Elmer Huerta tells us what has been done to control the spread of monkeypox since its appearance.

Leave a Comment