Monkeypox: Be extra careful when going on vacation

In the summer, you should be especially careful in epidemiological terms. Travelers should exercise extra caution, especially when visiting areas with a high incidence of monkeypox.

Edition CNN Greece talked to competent experts who talk about the current situation and give useful recommendations. At the same time, both Theoklis Zautis, President of EODY, Professor of Pediatrics, and Dimitrios Paraskevis, Professor of Epidemiology of Preventive Medicine at the Medical School of the Kapodistrian National University of Athens, emphasize:

“None of the cases is a new pandemic because, despite the large international spread, the situation cannot develop similarly to the coronavirus.”

Not so long ago, the World Health Organization declared a global alarm in connection with the virus, but so far the situation in Greece is quite favorable. Last Thursday, July 21, the weekly epidemiological report from the National Health Organization reported “20 cases of monkeypox, all male infected, 11 of them reported traveling abroad during the incubation period of the disease (55%)”.

Full text of CNN Greece interview with professors Zaoutis and Paraskevis:

A few days ago, the World Health Organization announced global anxiety in connection with monkeypox virus. What does this mean for Greece, will we follow the WHO strategy? According to the latest epidemiological study ΕΟΔΥ, the cases of the disease to date are men aged 24-59 years. Does the virus prefer males at this particular time?

A. Looking at the global picture, the WHO has raised the level of alarm due to the large number of cases worldwide. The transmission of monkeypox can by no means be compared to that of the coronavirus, but precautions must be taken to reduce the spread. In Greece, there has been an increase and dispersion throughout the country, with cases mostly occurring in men under the age of 59. It should be clarified that the virus does not prefer men, the risk the same for all peopleif they are exposed to the virus. The epidemiological picture is due to the fact that the spread of the virus began among men and is currently the largest among them.

Should travelers be more careful?

A. Travelers should be more careful, especially if they are visiting areas with a high number of cases, but in general, due to holidays and high population mobility, the entire population should be careful and take protective measures.

Are we facing a new pandemic or a new public health challenge?

A. Characteristics of monkeypox differ from the characteristics of the coronavirus: the infectivity is much lower, therefore, despite the large international distribution, the situation may not develop similarly to the coronavirus. Transmission requires close personal contact, but this should not mean that we should not be concerned or should not take protective measures. You should be especially careful in the summer because of the relaxation in the season.

If there is an outbreak in the near future, is the Greece to accept this new public health challenge, both in terms of health structures and human resources?

A. Greece has demonstrated a high level of preparedness to address this public health problem since the beginning of the monkeypox outbreak. The rate of increase in the number of cases is low, and since the need for hospitalization is low, a significant burden on the health system due to monkeypox is not expected.

Monkeypox is a viral infection first recognized in 1958. Since then, it has been present in tropical areas of West and Central Africa. It is transmitted through contact with wild animals and from person to person through close physical contact.

In May 2022, an increased number of monkeypox cases were reported in non-endemic countries. A total of 10,604 cases have been reported in Europe up to 19 July 2022 in 36 different countries. The latest data can be found at official website.

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