This article is not intended to be medical advice. If you have questions about monkeypox, see your doctor or local health professionals.
On Thursday afternoon, the US government declared a public health emergency due to the spread of monkeypox virus in the United States. To date, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 6,617 cases in the United States. The organization has also reported 26,519 cases globally in 81 countries that have not historically reported monkeypox.
As of August 2, no deaths from monkeypox have been reported in the United States, with 9 deaths reported worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the modern monkeypox mortality rate is between 3% and 6%, with different types of the virus causing more severe symptoms. The disease tends to be more serious in immunocompromised people and children.
The European Centers for Disease Control (ECDC) says monkeypox infection often begins with a combination of the following symptoms: fever, headache, chills, fatigue, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, backache, and muscle aches.
Scientists are concerned that the disease is behaving differently than in the past, with outbreaks usually coming from outbreaks between animal groups.
While the spread of the virus has not quite reached the levels seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the specter of the coronavirus and the early closure of sports activities such as swimming linger in the minds of many Americans.
Monkeypox virus is endemic to many countries in Africa, but the rapid spread in North America and other countries without high rates of vaccination against the disease is cause for concern. Unlike COVID-19, which is spread primarily through respiratory droplets, monkeypox spreads primarily through close contact with an infected person.
While both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) say it’s possible to get monkeypox through respiratory secretions, it often spreads through direct contact with rashes or sores on an infected person’s body, or in material that has contact with body fluids or sores, such as clothing or linens.
The CDC says that theoretical spread through respiratory droplets would require close, face-to-face contact. This propagation will require “prolonged face-to-face contact”, such as kissing.
Monkeypox is not known to “stay in the air and not transmit during short periods of common airspace,” which is different from COVID-19.
Investigations into the spread of other smallpox viruses such as the most common molluscum contagiosumshowed that prevalence increases in swimming pools, the CDC says, but scientists have not yet found evidence of how or under what conditions that spread might increase.
Anyone who suspects they have an infection should seek immediate treatment from their doctor and avoid situations where they may spread the virus.
So what are the risks of swimming and other sports?
in the swimming pool
Experts say that because the monkeypox virus is not waterborne, it is unlikely to spread in a swimming pool (or a heated pool), especially one that is well maintained with appropriate chlorine levels.
According to current researchers, because there is very little personal contact in swimming, and when there is no contact long enough to spread the virus, the risk of spreading in swimming practices is low, according to the current researchers.
However, scientists have been warned against sharing poolside towels or clothing, which may be more likely to spread the virus.
Although no definitive studies have been conducted on the spread of monkeypox through puddles or hot spots, based on the nature of the virus, scientists have concluded that it is “unlikely” to spread through a pool.
In the gym
Dr. Jessica Gastman, assistant professor of medicine in epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, said contracting the virus in the gym is “unlikely,” although it can spread through body fluids such as sweat. There are a number of reasons behind this, including that most gym equipment is not very porous and therefore easy to wipe down with proper cleaning practices that have become standard in gyms to combat the spread of other diseases such as MRSA.
Detergents and detergents are highly effective against monkeypox virus because it is an “enveloped virus”, which means it is covered by a fatty membrane. This fatty membrane is easily broken by detergents, which leads to the destruction of the virus.
More research is needed
Scientists are still researching whether the virus can be spread by an asymptomatic person or how well it spreads through respiratory secretions or sexual transmission.
While there are modern monkeypox vaccines, because the disease is related to smallpox, the smallpox vaccine is believed to give some protection from monkeypox. Routine vaccination of the American public against smallpox ceased in 1972.
The latest information from the CDC can be read here.