HEALTH – On May 6, the first seven cases of monkeypox were identified outside the countries of Central and West Africa, where the infectious disease is endemic. Two and a half months later, more than 15,000 cases have been recorded in 71 countries around the world, with Europe as the epicenter, although no deaths have been reported there to date. The continent represents nearly three quarters of the cases recorded in this month of July. The WHO also triggered this Saturday the public health emergency within international reach, its highest level of alert.
In France, 1,567 cases were identified as of July 21, almost half of them in Île-de-France. 40 people were hospitalized. During a meeting of the Emergency Committee this Thursday, July 21, the WHO director general said he was “worried” about the spread of the disease and the increase in the number of cases, even if patients most often recover well from their symptoms (pimples, itching, fever, headache, body aches, etc.).
How is the virus transmitted?
As with Covid, prolonged contact within 3 meters with a person carrying the virus can promote transmission due to microdroplets and respiratory secretions. But the vast majority (95%) of recent cases were transmitted during sexual contact, adds the WHO based on a study published in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine released July 21.
The latter specifies that 98% of those affected were gay or bisexual men. In France, all the cases identified to date in France, except 7 female adults and 2 children, are male adults.
Close and direct contact with a positive person “via skin lesions (sores, scabs), bodily fluids (blood, saliva, semen) or mucous membranes (mouth, anus, natural mucus-producing orifices)” can also cause spread. of the virus, such as prolonged contact with the patient’s environment (bedding, clothes, dishes, bath linen, etc.).
➡️ Read our article: “We know a little more about the mode of transmission of recent cases”
What to do if you think you may be exposed
To curb the transmission of the disease, the government on July 11 extended preventive vaccination to “groups most exposed to the virus”, namely men who have sex with men (MSM), people in situation of prostitution and professionals working in places of sexual consumption.
After the abandonment of contact tracing, the only solution to curb the epidemic is vaccination. A map of the centers open in France is available here on the ministry’s website. With the recommended interval of 28 days between the two doses, it takes a month and a half for the vaccination to be really effective.
If you think you have contracted monkeypox, -regardless of your sexual orientation-, contact your doctor or 15, who can then direct you. As a precaution, wear a mask and isolate yourself. After the medical consultation, a PCR test on a lesion will confirm that you have indeed contracted monkeypox.
➡️ Read our article: “Monkey pox vaccine? How to do if you are concerned”
The associations call on the government to speed up
Faced with the spread of the epidemic in France, associations fighting against HIV, such as Aids, Sidaction or even Act-Up Paris, are mobilizing and asking for a “real boost” and “a punch action” from the State to vaccinate all eligible people before the end of the summer. A challenge since it would be necessary to collect 300,000 doses to vaccinate twice the 150,000 people currently eligible.
➡️ Read our article: Faced with monkeypox, Aides demands “a punch action” from the State
“Endless” isolation with consequences
Three weeks of isolation is three times more than for contamination with Covid-19 and it is not without consequences for the mental health and the financial situation of positive people and in isolation.
A difficult period and a “mass blow”, as several men explained to us. “After two, three weeks, it starts to get long. I was clearly fed up. Stay at home it’s good for a week, if we can still see people it’s fine, but there we don’t see anyone”, explained Yohann to us.
➡️ Read our article: “For monkeypox patients, 21 “endless” days of isolation
See also on The HuffPost: The links between monkeypox and Covid are not what you think