British Airways flight crew quarantined after monkeypox infection

The Singaporean authorities have quarantined the crew of a British Airways passenger plane for 21 days after a flight attendant tested positive for monkeypox. They decided to isolate him and all the colleagues who worked with them on the flight. About it informed the Daily Mail, citing an “airline insider”.

Tests from the crew – two pilots, nine stewards and stewardesses – were taken upon arrival in Singapore on the evening of June 19. All these British Airways employees first served the London-Sydney flight with an intermediate stop in Singapore, and then, after a 24-hour rest, the return flight. One of them tested positive for monkeypox just on the way back to the UK.

“Everyone was told not to talk about it, but everyone is talking about it,” the Daily Mail quoted an airline source as saying. Her spokesperson said the air carrier was “working closely with Singapore’s health authorities and offered to pass on any necessary information to them.”

Anyone can become infected with the monkeypox virus, but statistics collected by doctors show more frequent transmission of the infection between homosexual and bisexual men. The British Health Protection Agency (HSA) recommended that they be vaccinated against smallpox.

Worst outbreak outside of Africa

The United Kingdom has recorded more infections than other countries affected by the spread of the virus, writes the Daily Mail, adding that “this is the largest outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa.” The first case of the disease in the UK was recorded on May 7, 2022, last week the total number of infected (including those already ill) in the country reached 574 people.

At the end of May, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 23 countries of the world It was confirmed a total of 257 cases of monkeypox infection. Then in Nigeria happened the world’s first monkeypox death reported since early 2022. The local Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDC) clarified that a 40-year-old patient who had underlying health problems, in particular, he took drugs to suppress the immune system, died.

Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Skoltech and Rutgers University Konstantin Severinov declared RTVI that “some new transmission route has emerged” for monkeypox: “If before everything was at the level of Africa, now it seems that there may be transmission already outside of it.” He expressed confidence that Russian epidemiologists are highly competent in preventing the spread of such infections. “Our people know how to work here,” the scientist confirmed.

In Rospotrebnadzor assuredthat Russians are reliably protected from monkeypox due to the availability of testing systems for detecting this disease and a rather high proportion of the country’s inhabitants who have previously received vaccinations against smallpox.

Specialists of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) in Spain deciphered the genome of the monkeypox virus, taken from the analyzes of patients. They concluded that the current outbreak outside of Africa was caused by the West African variety of the virus, which has the lowest lethality of all smallpox viruses circulating in the world and causes fewer complications (including compared to the North African variety of monkeypox).

What is known about monkeypox

The first cases of monkeypox among primates were detected in Africa in the 1959s, among humans in 1970 in the Congo. Since then, the virus has periodically caused local outbreaks in 11 African countries, causing a total of several thousand infections. Since 2003, imported cases of monkeypox have been reported in the US, UK, Singapore, Israel and other countries outside of Africa.

Since 2017, the focus of monkeypox on the African continent has become predominantly Nigeria, where frequent outbreaks have covered several hundred people. Since 2018, in the UK, Singapore and Israel, sporadic cases of infection with this virus have been detected almost annually.

The body of monkeys and rodents (for example, prairie dogs) serves as a natural reservoir for infection. A person can become infected through close contact with animals, after a bite, when carriers enter the mucous membranes of biological fluids (in the form of an aerosol formed during intense exhalation), and as a result of eating infected meat without proper processing.

The disease can develop in different ways depending on the type of virus, viral load and the immune status of the infected person. So, the incubation period varies from six to 21 days. The first symptoms of monkeypox resemble ARVI and the so-called colds: the patient has a fever, febrile conditions occur, muscle and headaches begin, cervical and inguinal lymph nodes become inflamed. Soon (usually on the third day after the temperature rise), against the background of this clinical picture, the most characteristic symptom of the disease appears – a rash in the form of spots that turn into papules, then into vesicles and then into pustules, bursts and dries up in scabs. Until they fall off, it is customary to consider a person contagious, even if the other symptoms have already disappeared.

The vast majority of monkeys infected with smallpox recover in two to four weeks. In many patients, the number of skin rashes is small, but in some hundreds of pustules are formed, after healing of which traces may remain on the skin. The disease, whose lethality is officially estimated at up to 15%, is especially dangerous for patients with weakened immune systems and serious concomitant diseases, due to which severe complications arise.

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