““What people need to know very clearly is [monkeypox] the transmission we see is human to human. They should definitely not attack any animals.”“
That was the spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Margaret Harris, during a press briefing with reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. She warned that as cases of monkeypox have increased around the world, there have been reports of people harming monkeys – which officials believe stems from fears that the animals are responsible for spreading the virus named after them.
It should be noted that although the monkeypox virus actually originated in wild animals such as rodents and subhuman primates (such as monkeys) and was first identified in laboratory monkeys in 1958, most human transmission outside of Africa actually originates from person- personal contact — not from animals.
Still, at least 10 monkeys — a combination of marmosets and capuchins — showing signs of poisoning or injury were rescued last weekend, Brazilian news site G1 reported. The animals were taken to the São Paulo Zoo for treatment, and seven of them died.
Brazil’s environmental military police believe the monkeys were injured by humans for fear of monkeypox.
“The name chosen for this new disease is very unfortunate,” Dener Giovanini, coordinator of Renctas, which stands for Brazilian National Network to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, told NBC News. “Many people in Brazil believe that monkeys carry disease and hunt these animals,” he said. “We are very concerned because this poses a huge threat to wild animals in Brazil, which are already very endangered.”
Normally, monkeypox is a rare viral disease found mainly in Central and West Africa. But now nearly 90 countries have reported more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox since May, leading the WHO to recently declare monkeypox a global emergency.
Monkeypox is most commonly spread by skin-to-skin or mouth-to-mouth contact with the lesions of an infected person (chickenpox), although humans can also become infected by contact with clothing or bed linen contaminated with body fluids carrying the disease. It can also be spread by contact with respiratory droplets, but scientists are still trying to figure out how often this happens.
Read more: What are the symptoms of monkeypox? Who can get the vaccine? What you should know about the virus and how it spreads
Outside of Africa, most cases (98%) are spread by men who have sex with men. The initial outbreaks reported in Europe are believed to have originated from sex at two raves in Spain and Belgium. However, it should also be noted that anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, can become infected with the virus if they are in close contact with an infected person or substances that an infected person has touched.
Humans can also contract monkeypox from infected animals by biting or scratching, preparing or eating meat, or using products from an infected animal. But most cases in the current global epidemic are spread mostly through close, intimate contact, according to the CDC. So there is no reason to harm animals, as the WHO spokeswoman said. Instead, here are some steps to prevent getting monkeypox and reduce the risk during sex, according to the CDC. This includes washing your hands frequently and avoiding close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and for people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. However, there is a limited supply of the vaccine, so the CDC suggests that people consider temporarily changing some behaviors that may increase their risk of exposure.
And you should talk to your health care provider if you notice any symptoms of monkeypox — including minor flu-like symptoms like fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue, as well as rashes or fluid-filled bumps — even if you don’t think you have it. you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
For anyone looking for answers to some of the more common questions about monkeypox, including who is eligible for the vaccine and what travel guidelines apply, check out our everything you need to know about monkeypox explainer here.
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