Monday 2 October 2023

UNA expert: Country lost trace of Monkeypox due to lack of data

There is no treatment specifically for monkeypox. Viruses that cause monkeypox and smallpox are closely related, drugs and vaccines developed to treat and protect against smallpox may be effective for monkeypox.

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QCOSTARICA – The difficulty in collecting essential data from people infected with Monkeypox, added to the increase in cases in recent days, suggests that the trail of the virus has been lost in the country, according to Juan José Romero, an epidemiologist at the Universidad Nacional (UNA) – National University.

“Hygiene continues to be an ally in the fight against any virus,” according to Juan José Romero, an epidemiologist at the Universidad Nacional (UNA).  Image:

Monkeypox (Viruela Símica, also known as Viruela del Mono, in Spanish), has been circulating in Costa Rica since July 20, when the first case was detected.

Currently, 23 positive diagnoses have been reported, of which eight were recorded in the last week.

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It is a disease considered an international health emergency, but without reaching a pandemic as Covid-19, since unlike the Coronavirus it has a low transmission rate and is in a moderately controllable population, for the moment, clarified the UNA epidemiologist.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox virus is a species of double-stranded DNA virus that causes monkeypox in humans and other mammals. Monkeypox virus is a zoonotic virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus genus, making it closely related to the variola, cowpox, and vaccinia viruses. MPV is oval-shaped with a lipoprotein outer membrane

It is a family of smallpox that affected people, had a high mortality rate and was eradicated before the 1980s with the support of vaccines.

How is Monkeypox spread?

Currently, Monkeypox affects young and healthy people. Current evidence suggests that monkeypox spreads from person to person, through contact with an infected person’s lesions or scabs that may be found on the skin or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum), during sexual contact, including oral and non-penetrative contact when providing care, when living in the same household.

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The virus may spread through respiratory particles, such as from talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing, during close contact. But we’re still gathering information on that mode of transmission.

It is not known yet if an infected person with no symptoms can spread the virus to others.

The virus can also spread t rough direct contact with contaminated objects and from animals to humans.

What are the risk groups? Have minors been reported in Costa Rica?

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At the moment, no minors with the virus have been reported. The main risk is skin-to-skin contact with infected people. Sick people are usually healthy and young.

How to protect yourself against this disease?

The best way to protect ourselves against this virus is to get medical attention if there is any suspicion. If it is known that a person is suspicious of having monkeypox, they should get tested.

Hygiene remains an ally in the fight against any virus. Juan José Romero’s advice is not to share eating utensils, bedding, or bath towels with sick people.AND keep your distance from infected people.

What’s Costa Rica’s situation?

The country is facing an international health emergency. This does not mean that it has been declared a pandemic despite the cases reported on several continents, since it is a disease with a low transmission rate, at the moment.

Currently, in Costa Rica there are 23 confirmed positive cases reported and the trend is upward.

About Monkeypox

Monkeypox was first detected in Africa in 1970.

Here are some details of the disease:

  • There are two genetically distinct strains of the virus: the Congo Basin (Central Africa) strain and the West African strain, the one in Costa Rica
  • In the world, there are 80,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Monkeypox is not considered a disease that kills
  • It mostly affects young and healthy people
  • 86% of cases correspond to men.
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