Monkeypox, as monkeypox is known, is a viral disease transmitted by contact with an infected individual, by droplets, or through contact with human body material that contains the virus. The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency on July 23, 2022, and the disease has been another cause for concern amid the Covid-19 pandemic. After all the lessons learned during the global health crisis caused by the Covid-19 virus, some doubts have arisen about the transmission of monkeypox by sharing things with infected people, especially in public places like gyms. After all, can I get monkeypox in the weight gym?
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The main way monkeys are transmitted is through skin-to-skin contact – Photo: Istock Getty Images
Infectious disease doctor Alexander Naimi Barbosa tells that transmission of monkeypox is possible in gyms, especially by sharing mattresses, towels, and equipment with people with skin lesions from the disease. But the correct hygiene of the devices after their use by each person significantly reduces the likelihood of infection.
The most common form of transmission is from skin to skin, which can occur in contact sports such as judo or Greco-Roman wrestling. But even sports that require faster contact such as soccer or basketball can occur, although less likely. But there is also the possibility of transmission by surface contact. Imagine that the affected person has a back injury and uses a mat for a set of sit-ups or other exercises. Or someone who suffers buttock injuries and rides a bike for 45 minutes in a spinning class. The carpet or bike is then used by someone else, without being sterilized. There is, yes, the possibility of infection in these cases, although they are smaller, they are less likely than skin to skin – Alexander explains.
The doctor points out that even if a person has a blouse that covers the wounds on the back – and will certainly wear shorts, shorts or pants on the buttocks – there is a possibility of transmission, especially if it is in a blister or wound the typical pustular stage of the disease, when there is fluid in the lesions, which can pass through tissues. These skin lesions are divided into five stages, all of which are transmissible:
- Red spots on the skin.
- bubble – when the plate is filled with liquid;
- wound – when the bubble bursts;
- Crust – when the wound forms a crust.
This process takes three to four weeks and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. During this period, the person must be in isolation so as not to transfer.
– If a person goes to the gym during this period, there are two possibilities: the first is that he does not know that he has the disease, and the second is that he knows, but they do not complete isolation. So it is very important to see a doctor when you see skin lesions to rule out monkeypox. And this insulation, in case of illness – explains the doctor, and also remembers that there is a possibility of transmission by sharing boxing gloves or leg pads, for example, without proper cleaning of the interior.
Another important measure should come from the academies: maintaining hygiene with alcohol 70 of all devices after each person’s use. As the doctor knows, this avoids not only monkeypox and the COVID-19 virus, but also the transmission of a series of other viruses, bacteria and fungi. Take these measures, pollution in gyms is unlikely.
Sanitizing equipment after every use in the gym is an important way to prevent monkeypox – Photo: Istock Getty Images
Another form of monkeypox transmission is air, via droplets, as in cases of COVID-19, which can be avoided by using masks. However, transcutaneous transmission remains the most important in the case of monkeypox. And by air, a lot of agglomeration and proximity is needed.
There is also droplet transmission, but it is not as transmissible as Covid-19. (Monkey pox) requires close, long-term contact for transmission by droplets — infectious disease doctor Claudia Mello, who comments on the chances of infection in bodybuilding and the gym, comments. – This type of transmission is better known in people who live in the same house or in a hospital environment, where the load of potentially infectious particles in the air is much higher, for example, in the gym. So far, we seem to have more transfers related to intimate contact (living at home).
Therefore, infection is more common between people in the same household and sexual partners, although monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, skin contact during sex is an important vector. But there are cases of contamination in public places, where the length of stay in the place can be an important factor in the transmission of the disease:
– We are aware of some cases where the likely site of injury are bars, but in this case, it is understandable, in this case, to have close and long-term contact of people in bars compared to gyms or other environments – Doctor comments: – When we think of Disease Prevention At the Academy, one of the most important things is to direct people to focus on investigating symptoms (cases), and if a person with skin lesions is already contaminated with monkeypox, they should seek health care as soon as possible.
The infection specialist explains that the best way to prevent contamination by monkeypox is to maintain the safety measures adopted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masks and hand hygiene are also part of prevention – says Claudia. – The same measures that were taken for Covid are correct, so avoiding masses, hand hygiene, using masks and investigating cases of symptoms are the most important points in prevention that we can do now. Users (gyms and other group venues) should be aware that monkeypox outbreaks occur, and that symptoms are characteristic skin lesions. If someone develops symptoms, it is important to see a doctor and follow isolation instructions before going to other settings.
The monkeypox virus is not spread through water. However, in crowded water aerobics classes in indoor pools, there is always the possibility of airborne transmission. Therefore, despite the lack of data on this topic, Claudia also states that, as in other places where there may be contact with pests characteristic of the disease, swimming pools should also be a place of contamination, and therefore they are necessary for the attention and care of users:
It is worth noting that swimming pools can be a place of pollution. Therefore, the best prevention method is to instruct everyone who uses the pool not to come in case of suggestive injuries. First, see a doctor for evaluation. This is the most important method (to prevent transmission), whether in swimming pools or gyms – recommend.
with information from Ministry of Health And the City Council of the City of Sao Paulo.
Alexandre Naim Barbossa Infectious pathologist, professor and researcher at UNESP and Vice-President of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI).
Claudia Milo (Tweet embed) is an infectious disease doctor at the Emílio Ribas Institute of Infectious Diseases, holds a doctorate in infectious and parasitic diseases from the University of São Paulo School of Medicine (USP).
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