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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Monkey pox. The first case in Poland. Dr. Tomasz Dzieiątkowski and Dr. Grażyna Cholewińska-Szymańska comment

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The first case of monkey pox has been confirmed in Poland. – Lots of people are worried, lots of people are calling us. I had a call from a mother who was concerned that she had a baby with chickenpox and said: maybe it’s not a chickenpox, but a monkey? – said Dr. Grażyna Cholewińska-Szymańska in “Fakty po Faktach”. She admitted that the symptoms of both diseases are similar. The virologist Dr. Tomasz Dzieciątowski reassured that “the pandemic as such does not threaten us”.

ABOUT the first case of monkey pox in Poland the health minister announced on Friday Adam Niedzielski. – We’ve had about 10 suspicions of monkey pox, samples are being tested. June 10 is the day when we have the first case – said the head of the Ministry of Health during a press conference organized at the Medical University of Lodz. Monkey pox is a rare zoonotic viral disease. Usually found in West and Central Africa. Symptoms include fever, headache, and a skin rash that begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Cases of infection with the monkey pox virus have recently been recorded, inter alia, in in GermanySwitzerland, Spain, BelgiumItaly, Portugal, Great BritainAustria and Sweden.

The guests of the Friday “Faktów po Faktach”, Dr. Grażyna Cholewińska-Szymańska, a specialist in infectious diseases, head of the provincial infectious diseases hospital in Warsaw and Dr. hab. Tomasz Dzieiątkowski, a virologist from the Medical University of Warsaw.

Chickenpox or monkey?

– Lots of people are worried, lots of people are calling us. I had a call from a mother who was concerned that she had a baby with chickenpox and said: maybe it’s not a chickenpox, but a monkey? – said Cholewińska-Szymańska.

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She pointed out that the symptoms of both diseases are similar in the initial period. – As in any viral infection, there is a fever, general breakdown, muscle pain, and then, after two or three days, in both diseases, there are eruptions on the skin – she explained. She added, “in the case of infectious disease doctors, these skin lesions can be distinguished by the eye.” – We do not need to be confirmed by genetic tests, because these changes are a bit different, however – she said.

The doctor noted that the incubation period for monkey pox is longer than for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “It’s about 5-14 days, but it can go up to 25, so the quarantine and isolation period is three weeks,” she explained. She added that an infected person who has not yet developed skin symptoms can be contagious.

“We are not threatened by a pandemic as such”

Dr. Dziecionkowski reassured that “the monkey pox virus has a much smaller epidemic potential” than COVID-19. – We are not threatened by a pandemic as such. I think they will be isolated epidemic outbreaks – he said.

He noted that we know much more about monkey pox than about the coronavirus two years ago. – The first infections in animals were detected in the 1950s. Human infections were found as early as the 1970s. Single cases in Europe, imported from Africa, where this virus is endemic, are found every year, so this is not particularly new, he noted.

As he said, “here we have an easier situation, because it is a virus largely related to the smallpox virus.” ‘The consequences are not so serious, the contagiousness is much lower, the death rate is also far lower, but because of similar behavior we have more knowledge about the behavior of the smallpox virus as such,’ he explained.

However, he added that the virus we are currently dealing with will require further research. – Until now, the primary infection in West Africa has been zoonotic infection. In East Africa, contact was facilitated, where the virus spread between people, but mainly through direct contact. We here (in the West – ed.) Do not know until the end, we have a lot of suspicions, because it is also a droplet path, a way of sexual contact, that this virus has slightly changed its behavior and thus easier infections in developed countries – he explained.

Main photo source: TVN24

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