Monkeypox is not likely to spread in the workplace and while traveling

A world exhausted from fighting COVID-19 for more than two years now faces another potential danger after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. on July 23 and the United States declared a public health emergency on August 4.

With more than 7,000 cases in 48 US states, people are looking for advice on how to avoid the virus.

By most accounts, monkeypox is transmitted by prolonged, direct, skin-to-skin contact, which may scare some who revert to practices such as hugging friends in social settings and shaking hands at work. .

But many in the medical field say monkeypox cannot be transmitted through handshakes. So far, most cases have been linked to sexual activity, although the virus is not considered a sexually transmitted infection.

Rather, individuals can spread monkeypox through intimate contact, such as kissing, cuddling, cuddling and sexual intercourse, according to Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, speaking July 27 to CNN.

Nevertheless, many people are on alert.

Additionally, monkeypox adds another trepidation to working-from-home employees who may be planning to return to the office soon.

“I really don’t think monkeypox has changed social interactions, because they’ve already been altered because of COVID,” said Paula Harvey, SHRM-SCP, SHRM board member. “With the upsurge in COVID-19 cases, we are seeing employees and people in public being more cautious again.”

Michelle Griffin, SHRM-CP, CEO of Griffin Resources LLC, said the majority of her clients had adopted policies that covered all communicable diseases and relied on advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state regulations, OSHA recommendations, and other health and safety guidelines. .

“They didn’t need to adjust policies in writing specifically for monkeypox because of the more general policies,” Griffin noted. “That said, we haven’t seen any companies specifically make an accommodation or rules regarding monkeypox at this time.”

Dr Janice Johnston, chief medical officer of Redirect Health, said it was important to know the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.

“Making sure your employees are aware of how it spreads will help with situational awareness,” Johnston said. “It is spread through close contact and main symptoms include rashes, skin bumps and fever. Frequent and proper hand washing is highly recommended.

“If an employee exhibits any of these symptoms, they should avoid close contact with other team members,” Johnston continued. “Infected people should seek medical attention to obtain appropriate medication to treat symptoms. Monkeypox is not a major concern at this stage, but if a significant number of cases occur in the near future, vaccinations may be required.”

Handshakes and hugs

While the country’s business and industry conference schedules are mostly suspended in August, more attention could be paid this fall when they resume. If cases continue to rise, people may be concerned about interacting with others at conferences or business meetings.

Dr. Ali Khan, epidemiologist and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, speaking in late July to USA todaysaid monkeypox “doesn’t come through casual contact, like a handshake, a quick peck on the cheek, or sharing a toilet seat.”

He said that in theory it can be transmitted by touching clothes or bedding used by people with open sores and through the air if someone has mouth sores, but there is no evidence that anyone caught it that way during this outbreak.

Wen said people who want to reduce their risk “should avoid crowded clubs, raves, sex parties and other places where there is prolonged skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people who may be wearing fewer clothes”.

Vaccine supply limited, but no longer on the way

Wen isn’t advising everyone to get the monkeypox shot because “he’s extremely limited right now.” About 1.1 million doses of the two-dose vaccine have been delivered so far, far below the 3.5 million doses needed.

“The ones who absolutely should get vaccinated are those who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox,” Wen told CNN. “If given within four days of exposure, the vaccine can prevent a person from developing monkeypox. If given within two weeks, it reduces the risk of progression to severe disease.”

Paul Bergeron is a freelance writer based in Virginia.

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