As monkeypox spreads across the United States, people may remember when they used to clean counters and grocery stores to get rid of the coronavirus. But for most people, the risk of contracting this type of smallpox remains low. In the current epidemic, almost all cases –98 percent— have occurred in adult men who have sex with men.
So how does it spread? Studies of past outbreaks suggest the monkeypox virus has spread diffuse in three ways: By direct contact with the rash of an infected person, by touching contaminated objects and tissues or by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is also trials that a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her fetus through the placenta.
Several factors can determine your risk of contracting monkeypox, whether it’s caring for a sick person, attending crowded parties, or simply having sex. How close you are to a sick person, how contagious they are, how long you spend with them and your own personal health all play a role, all of which can affect your susceptibility, said Jay Varma, physician and specialized epidemiologist. in infectious diseases at the Weill Cornell School of Medicine in New York.
We feature expert advice on day-to-day interactions, how the virus is transmitted during these activities, and which behaviors are most at risk.
Activities that put a person at higher risk of contracting the virus involve close and intimate contact with another infected person. This includes the type of contact that occurs during sex, as well as when you hug, touch, massage, or kiss another person. Condoms probably add a layer of protection during sexbut they are unlikely to prevent contact with lesions on the groin, thighs, buttocks or other body parts of an infected person.
Roommates and family members who live in the same house also have a significantly higher risk of contracting this type of smallpox, compared to anyone else with whom a patient may have close contact, said Bernard Camins, director medicine for the prevention of infections at Mount Sinai. Health system.
People who share the same accommodation can catch monkeypox from contaminated clothing, towels and bedding. Shared utensils that may contain an infected person’s saliva should also be considered high risk, said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist at George Mason University.
When it comes to respiratory droplet transmission, face-to-face contact — or activities involving similar proximity — is riskier than being several feet apart. Health officials recommend keeping at least six feet away from patients without a mask to avoid exposure, although some experts say that distance is arbitrary. However, just like with covid, wearing a face covering indoors is a good idea to protect against monkeypox. Attending a party in a crowded venue could put you at risk of contracting the virus, especially in parts of the country where cases are high. Gatherings where people have direct contact and dance together During a very long time they can be even more risky, Popescu said.
People are unlikely to catch the virus by trying on clothes in a store or touching non-porous objects like doorknobs and countertops, Popescu said. “Personally, I’m less concerned about the idea of trying on clothes in the store,” he said. For those who are nervous, he suggested taking the new clothes to the laundry to calm down.
Additionally, some activities that people have learned to limit during waves of COVID-19 are likely not as risky for monkeypox transmission. For example, sitting on a subway, bus or other public transport or going to an office or school is unlikely to expose people to the monkeypox virus. But experts warn that this recommendation could change as researchers collect more data on the disease. If the virus continues to spread unchecked, it could eventually spread to a wider population, increasing the chances of infection in all cases. But, according to Camins, that moment “hasn’t arrived yet.”