Monkey pox: most cases transmitted during sex, study finds

The vast majority of recent cases of monkeypox have been transmitted through sexual contact, suggests the largest study to date. It also shows that the vast majority of those affected are gay men.

A study published last week in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine indicates that sexual contact had caused 95% of cases of contamination of monkeypox, out of more than 520 analyzed carried out between the end of April and the end of June, in 16 countries. different.

“It is important to emphasize that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection in the traditional sense; it can be caught by any close physical contact” with an infected person, however wanted to specify the main author of the study, John Thornhill. “But our work suggests that the majority of transmission so far is linked to sexual activity,” although this is not the only cause.

The skin lesions observed, mainly anal, on the genitals or the mouth, could represent the zones of inoculation, also notes the study.

In addition, semen analysis of 32 people showed the presence of virus DNA in 29 cases, but further studies are needed to determine whether transmission can actually take place by this route.

No deaths, but a balance sheet to qualify

The work of scientists has also shown that 98% of the cases studied were gay or bisexual men. Their median age was 38. No deaths were recorded among the cases studied, and most were mild cases. Despite everything, 13% were hospitalized. The main reasons were pain in the anorectal region, or skin infections. But no serious complications were then observed.

It was also specified that 41% of these men were infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, but the vast majority of them were under treatment.

This Monday, the Inter-LGBT (Interassociative lesbian, gay, bi and trans, which federates about sixty associations) made a point of pointing out “the inaction, the lack of preparation and transparency of the government”. “This epidemic overwhelmingly affects (more than 9 out of 10 cases) men who have sex with men. For some / some of us, the news brought back the trauma of the AIDS years,” she said in a statement.

She notably denounced the “difficulties in making an appointment” to be vaccinated and “deliveries of insufficient doses of vaccine”, as well as the places of injection or the slots available on Doctolib. She also called for “increased, factual and non-judgmental prevention”, recalling “the right of everyone to live their sexuality fully with the number of partners they want, while taking into account the reality of the epidemic”.

Different symptoms than in Africa

Going back to the study, in 23 people with a clear history of their infection, the incubation period (before the first symptoms appeared) was one week, but could extend from three to twenty days. , she noted.

As previously reported, she points out that the symptoms observed differ from those usually seen in African countries where the disease is endemic. Especially the fact that the rashes are concentrated in certain areas. Lesions were observed in 95% of people, including the genito-anal area in 73% of cases.

The number of lesions varied greatly from person to person, but was generally less than 10.

In France, 1,567 cases of monkey pox are confirmed, according to the latest report from Public Health France, established on Thursday. There were 912 the previous week.

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