The unusual explosion of cases in recent days and the bitter experience of covid-19 have pushed health authorities to take the appearance of monkeypox for the first time in Spain very seriously. With 30 confirmed cases and dozens more suspects, the Ministry of Health has published a protocol that establishes a series of action guidelines to prevent contagion, detect patients who are already infected and treat those who experience symptoms, measures that, at being an infectious disease again, are similar to those decreed in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

For people who are already infected, for suspected cases and for those who have contact with any of them, the Carolina Darias department recovers the surgical mask, which is recommended “especially” for people who present respiratory symptoms and for those who live with them. In addition, Health advises confining the sick at home, isolating them “in separate rooms”, avoiding physical contact and sexual relations with those infected “until the lesions have disappeared”, covering the wounds, proper hand hygiene with soap or hydroalcoholic gel and finally, points out a new measure: “avoid contact with wild or domestic animals”, so “pets must be excluded from the patient’s environment”.

The ministry’s guide decrees that close contacts will be people who have had contact with a patient “less than a meter away” in the same room and without protective equipment (mask or PPE suit). And above all, Health highlights, an attempt will be made to “gather information on people who have been able to have sexual relations in a risky context” with the patient. Those who have shared “clothes, bedding or fomites” (objects that can be contaminated with the virus and that can cause contagion when touched) will also be considered close contacts. Close contacts must “self-monitor” their temperature once a day for 21 days to check if they have a fever and although the protocol says that they should not quarantine, they are asked to take extreme precautions and reduce social interactions as much as possible “using constantly the mask ». In addition, if a fever or any symptom compatible with the disease appears (pustules, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion), they should do “immediate home self-isolation” and contact the health authorities.

In its document, the ministry recalls that the transmission of monkeypox occurs in several ways: through large respiratory droplets during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact, in contact with the body fluids of an infected person or with objects contaminated, such as clothing or bed sheets and also, from mother to child. But above all, it emphasizes that the most likely mode of transmission is that which occurs between sexual partners “due to intimate contact.” “So far, a high percentage” of the cases reported in Spain in recent weeks “are men who have had risky sexual relationships with other men, although their transmission to other population groups cannot be excluded,” he clarifies. Health.

Although no expert believes that monkeypox can cause a health crisis even similar to that of covid-19, all the ministry’s alarms are on. After a first message, last Wednesday, in which he pointed out that there would be no great transmission of this virus, the director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES), Fernando Simón, backed down yesterday in his statements. “Transmission has been higher than expected. Although it is not one of the diseases that has a significant transmission between humans and it is not necessary to give a feeling of excessive anguish, precaution must always exist, “said Simón during an act in Zaragoza.