A former chief physician of the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen lists three essential differences between the two viruses.
Posted today at 2:35 p.m.
Monkey pox does not represent a pandemic threat like AIDS, says infectious disease specialist Pietro Vernazza. The former chief physician of the clinic for infectious diseases and hospital hygiene at the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen lists three essential differences.
First, monkeypox is not transmitted when the infected person does not yet show symptoms such as pustules, explains Pietro Vernazza in a meeting broadcast on Friday by the “Neue Zuercher Zeitung”. “Infected people therefore know that they are contagious.”
Second, people with monkeypox are not contagious for long, adds the infectious disease specialist. “Once the pustules have healed, the person is immune.” With HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS, the visible symptoms generally appear only years after contamination, but infected people are already contagious before, he specifies.
Third, the monkeypox virus is not, in the current state of knowledge, transmissible by blood, notes the expert. “Transmission of monkeypox virus requires close physical contact. This is currently almost always done during sexual contact.
“Anyone who is infected should avoid contact with other people on their body parts covered in pustules.”
Pietro Vernazza, infectiologue
Placing infected people in isolation helps to control the disease, believes Pietro Vernazza. “Anyone who is infected should avoid contact with other people on their body parts covered in pustules.”
The infectiologist is convinced that the monkeypox epidemic will subside again this year in Switzerland. Those most affected will learn to manage the disease and adapt their behavior, he said.
No large-scale vaccination
Pietro Vernazza is not in favor of large-scale vaccination of the population against monkeypox. He says he wants to see more data on the safety of the vaccine, which is not yet authorized in Switzerland. Another story from the Zurich infectious disease specialist Jan Fehr, who estimated on German radio SRF on Friday that it was time to move up a gear so that the vaccine is quickly available. “Otherwise, we risk seeing the disease spread.”
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has so far identified 260 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Switzerland. They concern almost exclusively men who have had sex with other men. The WHO decided on Saturday to trigger the highest level of alert in an attempt to stem the outbreak of monkeypox, which has affected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries.