Boston – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, another public health threat has emerged in the form of monkeypox outbreaks in several countries where the virus is not endemic, or commonly present.
The first case associated with this outbreak was diagnosed in the United States, on May 18th At Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), this prompted the need to better understand the risk of transmission in health care settings, in order to effectively counsel health care workers.
Researchers at MGH reviewed available literature over the past two decades and found only one documented case of transmission of monkeypox following exposure in health care settings outside endemic areas.
“In our study, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, we searched the literature from before 2000 and found 12 studies, outside endemic areas, describing nosocomial- or health-related-risk and subsequent management,” Co-authors Kimon C. Zachary, MD, assistant chief of MGH’s infection control unit and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“While it is reassuring that there was only one case of a high exposure exposure that resulted in transmission to a health care worker, the studies used variable definitions of exposure and provided information about the nature of exposure and the personal protective equipment used. Very limited details reported. Therefore, it is difficult to accurately measure the risk of transmission under given circumstances.”
Continued assessment of the experience of healthcare facilities during the current global outbreak may provide additional information that may help guide strategies to prevent transmission, including the use of vaccines for both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis .
“While the findings support a low risk of nosocomial transmission to date, it will be very important to learn from the experiences of patients’ management facilities around the world during the current outbreak, including those documented risks in health care settings and any subsequent transmission events.” are,” says. Co-authors are Erica S. Shenoy, MD, PhD, associate chief of MGH’s infection control unit and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“These data will be important for informing the definition of exposure as well as risk stratification and indications for post-exposure prophylaxis.”
This work was supported by the US Assistant Secretary of State for Preparedness and Response (Grant No. 6 U3REP150548-05-08 to ESS) and department funds (KZ).
About Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and involving more than 9,500 researchers working in more than 30 institutions, centers and departments . In August 2021, Mass General was named #5 in US news and world report List of “Best Hospitals in America”. MGH Mass General is a founding member of the Brigham Healthcare System.