Officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect the monkeypox virus could be airborne at least for “short distances” and have therefore asked people and health professionals who are in close contact to wear masks, according to reports in the media.
The CDC last week in its updated guidelines for travelers asked people to protect themselves from monkeypox by wearing masks.
“Wear a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect you from many diseases, including monkey pox,” the recommendation read, which was later removed, the New York Times reported.
The agency said in a statement it “removed the mask recommendation from Monkeypox’s health statement because it caused confusion.”
However, it still stated that in countries where monkey pox is spreading, “household contacts and health professionals” should consider wearing masks.
“Other people who may be in close contact with a person who has been confirmed monkey pox,” it added.
The CDC also urges patients with monkeypox on its website, “especially those with respiratory symptoms,” to wear a surgical mask. It also asks other household members to “consider wearing a surgical mask” when in the presence of the person with monkey pox.
So far, health officials have not explicitly discussed the possibility of airborne transmission or the need for masks, but they have emphasized the role of large respiratory droplets emitted from infected patients and landing on objects or people, the report said.
Monkeypox infection requires “really close and prolonged contact,” said Andrea McCollum, the CDC’s lead expert on the virus.
“This is not a virus that has been transmitted over several meters,” she said. “That’s why we have to be very careful how to frame this.”
When asked whether health officials should make the possibility of airborne transmission more widely known, McCollum said, “It’s a valid point to make, and it’s something we should definitely consider moving forward.”
Experts say there are no hard estimates on how much of the recent outbreak has spread through the air, the reports said.
“It’s very ambiguous what the true or dominant route of transmission is, and some of that can be addressed in animal models,” Nancy Sullivan, a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the recent World Scientific Conference. Health Organization (WHO).
“Probably that should be front and center for some of the lab research,” she said.
The virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection, which is generally spread through semen and vaginal fluid. But the most recent surge — with more than 780 cases in 27 countries registered by the WHO as of June 2 — appears to have spread among men who have sex with other men, but the UN health agency emphasizes that anyone can get monkeypox. .