Take care of your dogs: monkeypox does spread to pets, why is it important to protect them?

Companion animals could transmit the monkeypox virus (Photo: Diego Simón Sánchez/cuartoscuro.com)

This Saturday morning, May 28, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírezundersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, notified the first imported case of monkeypox in the country. Despite community spread in various regions, the transmissibility of the virus is considered to be of low impact. However, to reduce the probability of large-scale contagion, it is necessary take special care with pet mammals.

In interview with Infobae MexicoCarol Perelman, a biochemist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), science communicator and member of the Mexican Network of Science Journalists, assured that people with a positive diagnosis of the disease should stay away from domestic animals such as cats, dogs and, especially, rodents, while they are experiencing the disease.

We must avoid being in contact with animals because the virus can remain in a reservoir and what we do not want is for it to be endemic. Prevent it from passing to animals and from continuing to resurface there. You have to make restraints.”

The first case of monkeypox appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970 (Photo: File)
The first case of monkeypox appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970 (Photo: File)

According to the World Health Organization (OMS), the transmission of the monkeypox virus from animals to humans, known as zoonosis, is produced by the direct contact of people with blood, body fluids, skin lesions or mucous membranes of infected animals.

Although the contagion of the virus is associated with apes, the organism has indicated the existence of indications of infection in different species of animals. However, although the natural reservoir for monkeypox has not been identified, rodents could be the most suitable animals to serve as hosts of the virus and spread it to other animal species more easily.

Even the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) issued a recommendation for people infected with the pathogen to extend the 25 day quarantine to your pets. And it is that in case an infected animal establishes contact with others it can generate a chain of transmission wide enough to reach wild species with the ability to turn the epidemic into a endemic disease.

Facts about monkeypox (Photo: Twitter/@Vyro_ConcacytMX)
Facts about monkeypox (Photo: Twitter/@Vyro_ConcacytMX)

According to the epidemiology division of the Ministry of Health, an endemic is “the constant presence or habitual prevalence of cases of a disease or infectious agent in human populations within a given geographic area.” In this sense, the virus can stay in the country and encourage outbreaks without the need for contagious agents to be imported.

Perelman indicated that there are two strains of monkeypox virus. One of them is found more frequently in the region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is more aggressive. On the contrary, which has been found in countries such as Portugal and Belgium corresponds to the western strain, which was cataloged by the specialist as “more benign” in the sense of being less riskyalthough so far it has shown a mortality rate of 1 percent.

“We do not know yet if we are facing a virus that changed its form of transmission, because the only thing they had were sporadic cases of people who had had contact with infected animals. Now there are already cases in 22 countries in the world, including Latin America where there is already community transmission”, he pointed out.

Perelman recommended continuing to use face masks in closed spaces (Photo: Daniel Augusto/CUARTOSCURO.COM)
Perelman recommended continuing to use face masks in closed spaces (Photo: Daniel Augusto/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

In this sense, in the absence of accurate data about the nature of the virus, Perelman recommended the use of face masksas well as the implementation of hygiene measures in order to reduce risk. Furthermore, although Mexico does not currently have the resources, the existence of a vaccine recently approved against monkeypox, as well as a antiviral drug to fight it.

Secondly, denied that there should be an alert in the country to start the vaccination campaign which ceased in 1972 due to the eradication of smallpox.

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