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Monkeypox is not a pandemic like AIDS

29.07.2022, 08:3729.07.2022, 12:47

Monkey pox: not to be compared with AIDS.Bild: Shutterstock

Monkeypox is not a pandemic like AIDS. This is the opinion of the infectiologist Pietro Vernazza. There are three main differences between the two diseases, he said in a newspaper interview.

First of all, monkeypox would not be transmitted if the infected person had no symptoms such as smallpox blisters and pustules, Vernazza said in an interview with the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” published on Friday. Infected people know that they are contagious.

Immunity after healing

Secondly, people with monkeypox are not contagious for long. If the pustules have healed, the person is immune. It is different with the HI viruses that cause AIDS: Visible symptoms usually only appear years after infection, but those infected are contagious before that.

Thirdly, according to Vernazza, according to the current state of knowledge, monkey pox viruses can hardly be transmitted via blood. “Close physical contact is required for the transmission of monkeypox viruses, it is currently almost always through sexual contact,” said the infectiologist.

Pietro Vernazza.

Pietro Vernazza.Build: Ralph Ribi

According to Vernazza, isolation can get the disease under control. Anyone who is infected should prevent the areas on the body affected by pustules and blisters from coming into contact with other people. Anyone who knows about an infection will temporarily reduce the number of close sexual contacts.

stigmatization counterproductive

The monkeypox cases reported in Switzerland to date have almost exclusively affected men who have had sexual contact with other men. According to Vernazza, impartial, factual and, above all, motivating information for these people is important. Stigmatization and coercive measures are counterproductive.

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Vernazza expressed his conviction that the outbreak of monkeypox in Switzerland will subside again this year. Outbreaks can happen again and again, but those who are most affected are now learning to deal with the disease and adapt their behavior.

So far, around 260 laboratory-confirmed infections have been counted in Switzerland, as the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) writes on its website. Last Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international health emergency because of monkeypox.

Pietro Vernazza is the former chief physician at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene at the St.Gallen Cantonal Hospital. He retired at the end of August 2021. (aeg/sda)

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