Monkeypox: Lessons learned from the pandemic will help, experts say

Monkeypox: Lessons learned from the pandemic will help, experts say

Dr. Karen Mossman is a virologist and professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University. One aspect of a possible outbreak of monkeypox, also known as monkeypox, she says, is applying the lessons we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will normalize the use of masks, new working methods and better ventilation systems, for example. »

a quote from Dr. Karen Mossman, virologist and professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University

Many practices implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic will help limit monkeypox infectionhe wrote in an email to CBC.

But Dr. Mossman cautions that concern about rising monkeypox cases is justified.

In addition to the nine confirmed cases of the virus in Ontario, as of June 9, at least 23 cases were being investigated in Toronto.

Dr. Karen Mossman is a virologist and professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University.

Photo: Karen Mossman

Although the smallpox vaccine is thought to provide protection, smallpox vaccination ended around 1970, when the virus was effectively eradicated, she says. Therefore, vaccinated persons are likely to have limited residual immunity.

Fortunately, the virologist explains that monkeypox does not spread as fast as SARS-COV-2 and does not mutate as fast as coronaviruses.

Monkeypox is spread through bites or scratches from an infected animal, or through direct contact with wounds or bodily fluids of infected people. We can think of sexual intercourse for examplesays Dr. Mossman.

Doctors need to communicate better with the public

The professor of pathology and molecular medicine also believes that there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic in relation to communication between doctors and the general public.

There must be a balance between transparency and awareness. The public has a right to know about circulating viruses that have the potential to form a new epidemic.points out.

Information about new viruses often changes over time. That is what happened with COVID-19. The experts made assumptions about our previous experiences. »

a quote from Dr. Karen Mossman, virologist and professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University

Dr. Mossman says, however, that communicating with the public about new viruses can become complicated, as information changes as data is collected by experts.

But regardless, the virologist believes the general public needs to have more information to assess the risks of a possible epidemic.

By telling the public to trust us because we are doctors, we are not really doing our job of explaining decisions or recommendations about new viruses.she explains.

A virus other than COVID-19

However, according to Niagara Region Deputy Medical Director of Health Dr. Azim Kasmani, a pandemic is unlikely to emerge from the current monkeypox outbreak.

Based on what we now know about monkeypox, it is unlikely to have the same global impact as COVID-19.observe.

They are different viruses, with different means of spread and different health effects. »

a quote from Dr. Azim Kasmani, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Niagara Region

For now, Dr. Kasmani suggests avoiding close physical contact with people who may be infected with monkeypox.

And like Dr. Karen Mossman, Dr. Kasmani believes that while people need to be careful around this virus, we are now better prepared for outbreaks thanks to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With information from CBC

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