Monkeypox – What is it and how can the spread be minimised?

By Nigel Mellors
In May 23, 2022
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Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can occur in certain animals, including humans. The monkeypox virus is an enveloped virus from the orthopoxvirus genus in the family poxviridae.

The orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar, but milder than, the symptoms of smallpox. It begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the infected patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.  The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.

Transmission

The monkeypox virus is transmitted from person to person through close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.

Prevention

  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick person or animal.
  • Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk from infection.

Efficacy of Hand and Surface disinfectants against Monkeypox virus.

As monkeypox is an enveloped virus, the antiviral efficacy of a disinfectant formulation against the monkeypox virus can be proven by testing against the vaccinia virus (modified Ankara strain).

Vaccinia is the enveloped virus surrogate used in the EN14476 and EN16777 standard tests to evaluate the virucidal activity of disinfectants against enveloped viruses.

Like the monkeypox virus, vaccinia virus is an enveloped virus from the orthopoxvirus genus in the family poxviridae. vaccinia virus is very similar to the other poxviruses, so similar that it has been used as the basis for the smallpox vaccine which helped eradicate smallpox globally by 1980. Currently, smallpox vaccination containing live vaccinia virus is advised for the prevention of monkeypox with observational studies showing approximately 85% efficacy in preventing the disease. Interestingly a live vaccine based on the modified attenuated vaccinia virus (Ankara strain) was approved for the prevention of monkeypox in 2019.

To evaluate the antiviral efficacy of a disinfectant formulation against enveloped viruses, get in touch today on 01706 214492 or email us at Info@melbecmicrobiology.co.uk for more information.

Our sources:

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox

https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/prevention.html

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-live-non-replicating-vaccine-prevent-smallpox-and-monkeypox

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