Can you catch monkeypox from someone who hasn’t shown symptoms yet? Elizabeth Tracey reports

August 22, 2022

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Monkeypox, much like its close cousin smallpox, does not seem to be contagious in those who don’t have symptoms. That’s according to Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security senior scholar Amesh Adalja.

Adalja: When you think about what makes a pathogen be prolific, what makes a pathogen uncontrollable, contagiousness during the incubation period is a key factor. That’s why Sars-CoV2 was so hard to control, that’s why in 2009 H1N1 pandemic spread throughout the world in a matter of months, because if something is contagious during its incubation period it is very hard to intervene. And we don’t seem to see that with monkeypox, just like we didn’t see that with smallpox, and that’s actually key to one of the reasons why smallpox could be eradicated.  :29

Adalja says most transmission involves direct skin to skin contact with someone who has monkeypox skin lesions. These lesions are where the virus is replicating and is shed. Adalja notes that these qualities of the virus should make containment much easier than other viruses. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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