International monkeypox emergency: veterinary recommendations

International monkeypox emergency: veterinary recommendations

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This Saturday, July 23, the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusannounced at a press conference the declaration of the current outbreak of monkeypox as public health emergency of international concerndue to the large increase in the number of cases and the growing trend that it presents in various regions of the planet.

The meaning of this statement is that, according to the WHO, the outbreak poses a significant enough threat to global health that a coordinated international response is needed to prevent the virus from spreading further and potentially becoming a pandemic.

Currently the outbreak exceeds 16,000 declared cases and is distributed the illness in more than 70 countries, leaving five dead at the moment. According to his statements, globally the risk is still considered moderate, except in Europe where the risk is considered highbeing the current epicenter of the outbreak and where 80% of the cases are concentrated.

Spain is the country with the highest number of cases. As of July 22, there are 3,125 cases, followed by the US, Germany, the UK and France.


Distribution of cases as of July 15 by autonomous communities.

Madrid leads the number of cases with 1,577 cases as of July 20, the last of the confirmed cases being that of a 7-month-old baby who acquired the disease at home. The most recent outbreak has been detected in San Fernando, Cádiz with a total of 12 cases that have been related to a tattoo center.

In recent times and when in Spain it had no more than 30 cases, from Fesvet they made a “call for a coordinated fight and where se take into account the contribution that the veterinary profession could make in the fight against what is looming as a new pandemic.

At the moment, the fundamental route of transmission is person-to-person transmission, through fluids, secretions and contaminated objects. Risky sexual practices between men seem to be an important factor in transmission.


To date there are no known cases of animal infection (pets or wild animals) in Europe, but taking into account the zoonotic nature of the disease, the State Federation of Veterinary Unions (Fesvet) recommends following the recommendations offered by the WHO and the Ministry of Health.

“The people infected with monkeypox should avoid all contact with domestic mammalsin particular with rodents (mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, squirrels, etc.), due to the possibility of person-to-animal transmission during a period equivalent to the maximum period of virus transmissibility, that is, from the onset of symptoms until the complete disappearance of symptoms and skin lesions, as well as notify public health services of contact with or possession of this type of rodents by those affected”, they indicate.

Likewise, “people who are classified as close contacts of confirmed cases should minimize contact with pets and wild animals and adopt all possible precautionary measures to avoid possible transmissions.”

Similarly, they recommend wash hands before and after interacting with petsas well as wearing a mask during the stay in shared areas within the affected home and maintaining a high level of general hygiene in the home with frequent cleaning of surfaces and floors.

“Animals that have been in close contact with confirmed human cases must remain in isolation during the maximum incubation period of the disease, which is described for humans (in all cases, for a minimum period of 21 days), counting since their last contact”, they warn.

On the other hand, they ask avoid contact without protection with wild animals (including their flesh, blood, and other parts), especially those that are sick or dead. “In addition, all foods that contain meat or animal parts must be thoroughly cooked before consumption.”

Finally, they point out that presumably infected captive animals “must be isolated from other animals and quarantined with immediate effect. Any animal that may have been in contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with usual precautions, and observed for symptoms of monkeypox for 30 days.”

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