Low Risk Seen for Health Care-Linked Monkeypox Transmission

MONDAY, July 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Health care-associated transmission of the monkeypox virus following exposure is low, according to research published in the July issue of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Kimon C. Zachary, M.D., and Erica S. Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, conducted a rapid review of the literature to examine cases of transmission of monkeypox in health care settings outside endemic regions between 2000 and 2022, not including the current outbreak. Twelve studies were eligible for inclusion.

The researchers identified cases that were part of the 2003 prairie dog-associated outbreak in the United States and outbreaks in various countries from 2018 to 2021 among travelers returning from endemic regions. Across reports, there was variation observed in definitions of exposures, as well as in descriptions of personal protective equipment used and risk stratification of exposed health care personnel (HCP). A single case of health care-associated transmission was described in the United Kingdom; this exposure was deemed high risk due to changing contaminated bedding when the patient had active lesions prior to isolation, while wearing a disposable apron and gloves but no face mask or respirator. The HCP received postexposure prophylaxis with the live attenuated vaccinia virus five to seven days after exposure and developed illness eight days after vaccine receipt.

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“Although it is reassuring that there was just a single case of a higher risk exposure resulting in transmission to a health care worker, the studies used variable definitions of exposures and reported very limited details regarding the nature of the exposures and the personal protective equipment used,” Zachary said in a statement.

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