Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases at the University of Cyprus Medical School, Dr. Maria Koliou, has told CNA that monkeypox, which has already spread in many European countries, could also soon be detected in Cyprus, urging people to follow hygiene rules and be cautious.
There are only some recorded cases of this disease at this stage, she said, adding that we know how the virus is transmitted, so we have to be cautious.
"We need to follow hygiene rules, if we see suspicious marks on someone's body we should not approach and especially avoid touching and if there are any suspicious symptoms get in contact with a doctor so that an investigation can be done," she noted.
Koliou added that monkeypox is transmitted through close contact and not necessarily through sexual contact as well as from the respiratory system.
Asked if Cyprus is ready to address the problem, she said yes, adding that there are antiviral drugs for its treatment, which make the disease even milder.
Koliou noted that experience to date shows that this is a mild disease that can be treated but there will be some population groups that are more vulnerable, such as the immunosuppressed, children, and people at higher risk of becoming more seriously ill.
"We have to be careful even if the virus has so far mainly affected young people," she said
Asked if monkeypox could turn into a pandemic, she did not rule out this possibility, saying that it is not typical for this virus to spread outside a country. As a result, it is the first time the virus is detected in so many countries at the same time and the World Health Organisation is wondering whether the strain has mutated and has become more contagious for some reason, Koliou continued.
She pointed out that the smallpox vaccine offers 80% protection, and needs to be administrated to vulnerable population groups that are at high risk. The virus, she continued, is destroyed at 60 degrees Celsius when clothes are washed, and can also be destroyed by bleach.
Asked if the disease could be in any way linked to the coronavirus, Dr. Koliou said that scientists have not yet found the cause of it adding that more time is needed to determine its etiology.