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Smallpox jabs work on monkeypox: officials

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A person infected with monkeypox. WHO

Smallpox jabs work on monkeypox: officials

The Ministry of Health is preparing to respond to monkeypox by using the key strategies employed to fight Covid-19, including vaccinations if necessary, according to its spokeswoman Or Vandine.

Vandine said vaccines are available to prevent monkeypox, which has been reported in numerous countries, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has considered distributing them to prevent its outbreak from growing larger.

“We are thinking of key points like precautionary measures and strategies such as vaccination, just as the ministry prepared to fight Covid-19. Cambodia has eradicated some diseases such as measles due to vaccines,” she said late last week.

“Smallpox vaccines will prevent monkeypox and most individuals who are at the age of 50 and up have already received this jab when they were children. So their antibodies are protecting them even today because it is given just once in a lifetime.

“That’s why the WHO stated that [monkeypox] is not as contagious as Covid-19 but it has its own issues. And if people learn about it and implement preventive measures, then transmission will not spread quickly,” she added.

Kuong Lo, director of the Preah Vihear provincial health department, told The Post on May 30 that he had educated people across the province about monkeypox precautionary measures along with the prevention of Covid-19 despite the situation having improved.

“We still educate them about Covid-19 but we also educate them about monkeypox, with a focus on three things. First, health staff and village health support groups distribute leaflets on self-protection. Second, they give talks to groups on the subject and, third, they educate people one-on-one in person,” he said.

Lo said monkeypox vaccines have not yet been made available but, citing the WHO, he noted that existing smallpox vaccines can be used to prevent it.

“I think that in the future they can probably just use smallpox vaccines for monkeypox. For those who have already been infected with smallpox – those previous infections can also protect them quite a lot against monkeypox,” he said.

According to the WHO, as of May 26 the global total was 257 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox and over 100 suspected cases. No deaths have been reported.

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