Experts at John Hopkins University said monkeypox patients are contagious for up to four weeks after their symptoms of the disease appear. It is safe to wait till the active skin lesions dissipate.
The statement comes at a time when over 80 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 12 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, and nine European countries. Public health agencies in Europe confirmed that cases have been reported in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden. The WHO on Friday called the recent outbreaks "atypical" because they are occurring in non-endemic countries.
The new warning was issued by Amesh Adalja, an emerging infectious diseases expert. Michael Head, a global health expert at Southampton University in England, agreed with the American physician. He added that the WHO records on previous monkeypox outbreaks also suggest that the infectious period is related to the period where the rash and blisters are present.
He told DailyMail that the rashes and skin lesions that appear on the face and body can take a few weeks to disappear, and it is wise to wait till then. The virus causing monkeypox can spread through the droplets expelled in coughs and sneezes. Touching the affected areas also has a similar effect.
The WHO said 50 cases of monkeypox are being investigated in nine European countries. The virus is not known to spread easily, and the risk of affecting the wider public is low. While there is no specific vaccine designed to prevent monkeypox, the smallpox vaccine is known to provide 85% protection. Both viruses belong to the same family. It is most common in the remote regions of Central and West Africa.
The WHO is considering the possibility of a mutation that caused the outbreak in Europe. As of now, there is no evidence of a new variant.