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Smallpox vaccine can protect against monkeypox — Russian sanitary watchdog expert

Although potentially serious, monkeypox is quite a rare disease, Natalia Pshenichnaya specified

MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. A smallpox vaccine can ensure safe protect against the monkeypox, since there is no specific vaccine against this disease, Natalia Pshenichnaya, deputy director of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, said on Friday.

"There is no specific vaccine against monkeypox but a smallpox vaccine can protect against this infection," she said.

She said that although potentially serious, monkeypox is quite a rare disease. Its symptoms include fever, intoxication, lymph-node hyperplasia, and subsequent rash. The disease lasts for up to four weeks.

Monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans. "For instance, in Central and West Africa, where smallpox is an endemic disease, people can contract it via bites and scratches from rodents and small mammals, and via contacts with products of animal origin. The virus is transmitted from human to human in rare cases, through contacts with biological liquids of the infected individual, via objects contaminated by infected liquids, or by airborne transmission during a long close contact with the infected person (face to face)," Pshenichnaya said.

It is recommended to wear face masks during and wash hands after close contacts with people who arrived from territories where monkeypox cases were confirmed. "The risks of importing monkeypox in Russia are quite low due to the restricted air service. In addition, all possible measures are being taken to prevent imported cases of the diseases," she stressed.

The monkeypox virus, which was detected in several European countries in April-May, has reached other continents. All in all, at least 11 countries have reported monkeypox cases, namely Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the United States, and Australia.