Canton of Bern confirms infection. On its website, BAG provides recommendations on how to deal with the virus.
Health ministries in Europe and North America are currently very sensitive to a viral infectious disease that often occurs in different countries: the so-called monkey pox. This week, Spain and Portugal reported dozens of new suspects. In addition, cases of monkey pox have been recorded in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Sweden, Canada and the USA.
What is monkey pox
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Monkey pox is rare
Animal viral disease – presumably especially
Rodents – transmitted to humans (so-called zoonosis). The monkey pox virus (orthopoxvirus) is considered to be moderately transmitted to humans. Human-to-human transmission is rare but possible with close contact. According to BAG, men who have sex with men appear to have an additional risk of infection.
Monkey pox is transmitted through large droplets and through close contact with infected humans or animals. Contact with infected secretions or blood can also lead to transmission, writes the BAG.
And now Switzerland is also reporting the first case: it is the case in the canton of Bern, as announced by the cantonal health department on Saturday. The case was reported on Friday and confirmed after lab tests. The cantonal medical service began tracing contacts to understand possible chains of infection, according to a statement by the Department of Health, Social Affairs and Integration of the Canton of Bern.
It was said that the person concerned probably had contact with the virus abroad. The patient is undergoing outpatient treatment and is isolated at home. All contacts were informed by contact tracing.
BAG provides information
After the first confirmed case of infection with monkey pox in Sweden, the country’s government classified this rare viral disease as dangerous for the general public. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also concerned about the spread of the disease beyond the known regions of West and Central Africa.
In Switzerland too, BAG is “closely” observing the situation, writes on a website dedicated specifically to monkey pox. This is done in collaboration with the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
FOPH indicates that the monkey pox virus (orthopoxvirus) is considered to be moderately transmissible to humans. The disease is usually mild, and most people affected will recover within a few weeks. Apparently, people with reduced immunity, as well as children and young adults are at risk of a more severe course.
A newer vaccine not approved in Switzerland
The BAG indicates that there is no specific vaccine available. First and second generation smallpox vaccines administered in Switzerland until 1972 as part of a smallpox eradication program would provide effective protection.
There is a third generation smallpox vaccine that has been approved in Europe to immunize adults against smallpox, but not Switzerland.
Treatment of severe cases with antiviral therapy with tecovirimat is also not approved in Switzerland. This active ingredient has only recently been approved in the EU and the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) explicitly refers to it for the treatment of monkey pox.
When suspected: isolation
FOPH also makes recommendations on how to manage a possible infection. So if you have symptoms you should see your doctor.
These are the symptoms
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According to BAG, symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. Usually the rash develops with blisters or pustules (similar to smallpox). It often starts in the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, including the genitals. The time from infection to onset is usually six to 16 days, sometimes longer.
Anyone who has traveled from West or Central Africa should monitor their health for any symptoms. In suspicious cases, those concerned should be kept isolated. Finally, the discovery should be reported to the BAG – as was the case in the Canton of Bern in the first Swiss case.