Monkey pox: can the virus be caught in restaurants?

On June 24, ANSES published a report on certain modes of transmission of monkeypox. According to the agency, a lack of precaution can lead to theoretical contamination in eating places. Explanations.

Should restaurateurs be extra vigilant? According to a report published on June 24 by ANSES, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, monkey pox could be transmitted in catering establishments if they do not do not follow normal hygiene practices.

In concrete terms, the risk remains theoretical insofar as professionals are subject to strict rules. Not enough to give in to paranoia, therefore, even if nothing can be formally ruled out. “Contamination of foodstuffs by a sick handler cannot be excluded,” writes ANSES.

“A human excretor of the virus can contaminate food through contact with soiled hands (for example in the presence of lesions) or in the case of poor hygiene practices (oral or naso-pharyngeal excretions). The experts of the GECU (Groupe d’expertise collective d’urgence de l’agence, NDLR) do not exclude possible faecal contamination in the event of insufficient hand hygiene, ”continues ANSES, which wants to be cautious.

“A study has also shown that the genetic material of MPXV (abbreviation of monkeypox virus) could be found in the products of regurgitation / defecation of flies having landed, or fed on the feces of naturally infected chimpanzees”, reports the document again. published by ANSES.

The agency therefore recommends that establishments be particularly vigilant about the hygiene process, to limit the transmission of the virus: “The good hygiene practices usually in place (fight against insects and pests) are sufficient to avoid the theoretical contamination of food by this source”, can we always read later.

Easily disinfectable kitchen utensils

During an interview with Sciences & Avenir, ANSES gave some additional advice on cleaning and disinfecting utensils potentially infected with monkeypox.

Standard products can be used, provided that “the doses and action times provided by the manufacturer to obtain virucidal activity” are respected.

“Virucidal treatments, for example those that mention the EN 14476 standard (products tested on enveloped viruses and those not enveloped) are therefore effective at the doses and action times mentioned,” said an agency spokesperson. .

Ultimately, the risk of being contaminated with monkeypox in a restaurant appears extremely low. Based on various expert opinions, Agence France-Presse explains that the infection of the initial cases results from direct contact with blood, biological fluids or skin or mucous membrane lesions of infected animals.

In the current state of knowledge, secondary transmission – i.e. human-to-human – requires close and prolonged contact between two people, and occurs mainly via saliva or pus from skin lesions formed during infection.

Regarding the current resurgence, several experts have pointed out that while this virus can be caught during sexual activity, it is not a sexually transmitted disease. This transmission could be due to intimate and close contact during sexual intercourse and not by the sexual intercourse itself.

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