On Friday, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refuted the notion that the monkeypox virus may travel via the air. Instead, they said that the virus is often conveyed by direct personal contact with sores or contaminated items from a patient.
According to what they found, the virus may also spread via the respiratory droplets that are released by a patient who is sick and who has direct physical touch with another individual. However, it is unable to float in the air for significant lengths.
Experts on the transmission of viruses via the air were unanimous in their agreement; nevertheless, some of those experts said that the agency had not adequately examined the potential that respiratory droplets, regardless of size, may be inhaled by a patient from a closer proximity.
The World Health Organization and a number of other specialists have said that while “short-range” airborne transmission of monkeypox seems to be infrequent, it is feasible and requires measures to be taken against it. The United Kingdom considers monkeypox to be a “high-consequence infectious illness” that has the potential to be transmitted via the air.
Linsey Marr, a specialist in airborne viruses at Virginia Tech, was asked about the possibility of airborne transmission. “Airborne transmission may neither be the primary method of transmission nor extremely efficient, but it might still occur,” she stated.
She went on to say, “I believe the W.H.O. has it right, and the message that the C.D.C. is sending is deceptive.”
During a press conference, authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there have been 45 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, spread over 15 states and the District of Columbia. Since the first case was recorded on May 13, the total number of infections has skyrocketed throughout the world to more than 1,450. There are at least 1,500 instances that are still being looked at.
Historically, those who have had monkeypox have described experiencing symptoms similar to the flu prior to the appearance of the distinctive rash. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the organisation, said on Friday that some of the patients affected by the current epidemic had acquired the rash initially, while others have not experienced any of these symptoms at all.
She said that at this time there have been no reported fatalities associated with the ongoing epidemic.
Because the answers to these questions will, in turn, have an impact on recommendations for masking, ventilation, and other protective measures in the event that the epidemic continues to expand, these questions concerning the airborne transmission of the monkeypox virus are crucial.
According to a statement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday, monkeypox “is not known to remain in the air and is not spread during brief durations of shared airspace.” The comment was made in response to a piece that was published in The New York Times on Tuesday, in which experts discussed the uncertainty surrounding the transmission of the virus.
Dr. Walensky said on Friday that “what we do know is that patients who were diagnosed with monkeypox in this latest epidemic reported close, continuous physical contact with other persons who were infected with the virus.” “This is consistent with what we’ve observed in earlier outbreaks and what we know from decades of researching this virus and viruses that are closely linked to it,” the researcher said.
However, some specialists have said that very little research has been conducted on monkeypox, and it has been claimed that the closely related smallpox virus has had sporadic cases of airborne transmission. According to information presented by researchers at a recent World Health Organization meeting, two health care workers in Nigeria who were not in close touch with patients had monkeypox during an epidemic of the disease in 2017.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are a few people in this epidemic who do not know when or how they caught the virus.
According to Dr. Donald Milton, an expert in airborne viral transmission at the University of Maryland, the agency’s decision to reassure the public that the epidemic does not pose a concern to the majority of people is warranted. Monkeypox is not even close to being as contagious as the coronavirus.
Dr. Milton believes that those who are not the patient’s personal carers are not at danger of contracting the disease by airborne transmission; nonetheless, he warns that ignoring the issue totally “is the incorrect way to handle it.”
While a virus is present in saliva or in the respiratory system, as it has been shown that monkeypox is, it is possible for the virus to be released in respiratory droplets when talking, singing, coughing, or sneezing, according to Dr. Milton and other specialists.
The droplets may be large and dense, meaning that they swiftly land on things or people, or they can be tiny and light. The conclusion reached by the CDC is dependent, in part, on the question of whether the virus is solely present in very big droplets or if it is also present in very minute droplets known as aerosols.
At the outset of the coronavirus epidemic, when the agency and the World Health Organization were concentrating on big droplets as the primary mode of transmission, a dispute that was quite similar to this one took place. However, it turned out that aerosols were a primary factor.
The new guideline from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on monkeypox referred to the respiratory droplets that patients generate as “secretions that drop out of the air swiftly.”
However, according to Lidia Morawska, an expert on air quality at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, the virus “may be present in respiratory particles of any size.” This means that it is not limited to huge droplets alone.