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    WRNMMC’s Infection Prevention and Control Committee Chair sheds light on monkeypox virus

    WRNMMC Infection Prevention and Control chair sheds light on monkeypox

    Photo By Alpha Kamara | Chair of the infection, prevention and control committee at Walter Reed National...... read more read more



    Story by Alpha Kamara 

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

    By Alpha Kamara-Command Communications

    The Chair of the Infection Prevention and Control Committee at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said the Monkeypox virus would likely not spread in the U.S. like COVID-19.

    LCDR Sara Robinson, who is also an infectious diseases physician, made the comment on June 6 while shedding light on the virus and its mode of transmission after infections had been reported in over 30 countries. As of June 22, CDC says 156 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in the U.S. in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

    What to know about monkeypox?

    Robinson said monkeypox belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family that was first reported in Africa in the 1950s. “It is similar to smallpox, but less severe and less deadly.”

    “The good news is that the virus is not easily transmitted from one person to another. It is transmitted by close personal contact – either direct contact with skin lesions or materials and personal items that have been used by someone with monkeypox, or by exposure to respiratory droplets or oral fluids of an infected person or animal,” she said.

    Robinson added that monkeypox is a Zoonotic disease , which means it originates from animals. “But recently, it has emerged perhaps because we stopped routine vaccination for smallpox about 50 years ago. Today’s population no longer has the level of immunity against monkeypox that the smallpox vaccine provided decades ago.”

    Monkeypox unlikely to have a large impact at WRNMMC

    Robinson said staff and patients at WRNMMC should be less worried about monkeypox becoming another pandemic or even affecting people within the facility because of the hospital’s policy regarding the regular use of masks and other standard infection prevention protocols. However, she added that staff should be very attentive in identifying the symptoms of the virus in patients, especially if those patients have traveled to a region where monkeypox infection rates are high or endemic, or if they have had contact with a known case of monkeypox.

    Symptoms of monkeypox

    Robinson said it is possible that a patient might be infected with monkeypox prior to visiting WRNMMC. She urged providers and staff to look for telltale symptoms like fever, flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and a typical rash forming in different areas of the body. “If these symptoms are detected in a patient, staff should take decisive actions to isolate the patient as soon as possible and follow infection prevention and control protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).”

    U.S. pets and meat are not transmitters of monkeypox

    In some countries, people may be asked to stop eating game meat, cow meat and other beef related products in the wake of the monkeypox virus. However, in the U.S., LCDR Robinson said there have not been known cases of the virus being transmitted by domestic pets like dogs and cats or consumable meat products.

    However, she emphasized the need to ensure pets receive their scheduled checkups and vaccines and are properly treated when sick. She also sounded a note of caution to meat lovers: “Always cook or roast your meat properly to ensure it is safe to eat.”

    Final thoughts on monkeypox

    LCDR Robinson concluded her recommended guidelines with some monkeypox do’s and don’ts:

    a. Remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms of fever, flu-like symptoms (headache, muscle aches, fatigue, or exhaustion), swollen lymph nodes and nodular or pus-filled rashes. Rash outbreaks typically begin on the face and then spread to other parts of the body, although some cases involve atypical lesions and may present as a rash only in the genital area.

    b. Avoid direct contact with skin lesions or with materials and personal items used by patients with monkeypox (such as clothing, bedding and towels).

    c. Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkey pox is prevalent).

    d. Isolate infected patients in a private room or negative pressure isolation room if aerosol generating procedures are performed.

    e. Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans and use PPE when caring for infected patients (i.e., gown, gloves, N95 respirator and eye protection).

    Additional resources on the monkeypox virus are available on the following DHA and CDC websites:



    Date Taken: 06.23.2022
    Date Posted: 06.23.2022 10:19
    Story ID: 423596
    Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 

    Web Views: 206
    Downloads: 0