‘Monkey smallpox is unlikely to become a pandemic’

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former director of the Department of Preventive Medicine (Ministry of Health), senior advisor of the Center for Emergency Response to Public Health Events of Vietnam, based on initial information about When it comes to monkeypox epidemics in the world, it is very difficult for this disease to become a pandemic like COVID-19.

“If there is an outbreak, it will only be on a narrow scale, at the national level or smaller in each region, but becoming a pandemic is very difficult.” Mr. Phu said.

Monkey smallpox has been around for a long time, mostly in Africa. Recently, cases have been reported in several European countries. However, after a long time plus the specificity of viral disease transmission unlike SARS-CoV-2 such as slower transmission, milder disease, and vaccines (smallpox vaccine), the possibility of monkeypox becoming a pandemic seems unlikely.

Expert: 'Monkey smallpox is unlikely to become a pandemic' - 1

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former director of the Department of Preventive Medicine (Ministry of Health), said that monkeypox is very difficult to break out into a pandemic.

Dr. Truong Huu Khanh, former head of the Department of Infection – Neurology, Children’s Hospital 1, Ho Chi Minh City, also said that monkeypox cannot become a pandemic like COVID-19.

“Actually, monkeypox has existed for a long time, but it did not become a pandemic because there was a vaccine to prevent it. In addition, the specificity of the virus causing monkey pox It’s also very different, more difficult to spread, spread through body contact, splashes… and especially when the case starts showing symptoms, it spreads.”BS Khanh said.

Should monkeypox vaccine be given?

According to Dr. Truong Huu Khanh, in fact, the smallpox vaccine has long been injected by many people, especially people aged 55 and over and those returning from epidemic areas or getting sick. According to one study, the smallpox vaccine was also more than 80% effective against monkeypox.

Today, there are a few companies that research and develop smallpox vaccines, but very few. However, Dr. Khanh said that people still do not need to be vaccinated against monkeypox. Monkeypox was previously only localized, breaking out in small clusters. This disease has been rekindled for a long time, not just now. Because of the specificity of the disease as well as the virus causing the disease is quite mild, people do not need to think about getting the monkeypox vaccine at the moment.

“In my opinion, at the present stage, people should listen to official information from the Ministry of Health to know early preventive measures to avoid the risk of spreading,” he said. BS Khanh said.

Expert: 'Monkey smallpox is unlikely to become a pandemic' - 2

Experts say that monkeypox vaccination should not be given at this time. (Artwork: US CDC)

This view is also shared by many medical experts. People should not be too alarmed, worried about rumors that monkeypox could become a pandemic from unofficial sources.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, former Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine (Ministry of Health), also said that monkeypox vaccination is not necessary at this time. Currently, the disease is mainly circulating in countries in Africa and Europe.

“There is no need to vaccinate against monkeypox. We still need time to monitor and study. People should not be too worried but also not subjective. Please listen to information and recommendations from the Ministry of Health to be proactive in disease prevention and control.” Mr. Nga emphasized.

As of May 25, the world has recorded more than 158 cases of monkeypox, 117 suspected cases in 19 countries and no deaths. According to experts, monkeypox related to smallpox was eradicated in 1980, but the symptoms were mild, difficult to spread and the death rate was also lower.

Evidence suggests that people at high risk for the disease have a history of close physical contact with people with monkeypox when they are symptomatic.

Symptoms of monkeypox at onset are usually fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.

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