the essential
While health authorities are paying close attention to monkeypox, many fear catching the virus and suffering the consequences. But is it so serious? Suffering from the monkeypox virus, are you risking your life as was the case with Covid-19?

Monkeypox is starting to cause concern. More than 200 infections, spread over 19 countries, are currently recorded. The disease even arrived in France, as far as Occitania where a case was detected. Health authorities are taking the issue seriously and are already advocating various ways to fight the virus. A scenario that is reminiscent of that of Covid-19.

But like the latter, is monkey pox a danger to human life? What is its fatality rate? Do you risk hospitalization in case of infection? Decryption.

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Appropriate care

Of the 200 currently infected, no one has yet died of monkeypox. Several cases have required hospitalization but the fatality rate remains to be defined. We can still have an overview of monkeypox mortality by analyzing the situation in Africa, where “6,000 cases per year have occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years”, according to Santé Publique France.

“Generally, the case fatality rate in monkeypox epidemics is 1-10%,” says the WHO. Figures to put into perspective, because unfortunately, the quality of care provided in some African countries is often lower than the standards of industrialized countries like France. “With proper care, most patients recover,” the organization continues. The disease is therefore potentially fatal, but the fatal outcome remains quite rare when treated correctly.

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The people most likely to develop severe forms of monkeypox are “the immunocompromised” and “the youngest age groups”, again according to Public Health France: “The people most at risk of a severe clinical form (immunocompromised people, women pregnant or young children) should pay particular attention to the onset of any aggravation.” In these cases, and depending on your symptoms, hospitalization may take place.

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Again, this is rare. When an epidemic of monkeypox hit the United States in 2003, no deaths occurred among the 81 cases diagnosed.

In Africa, more lethal than Covid

At present, monkeypox is not on the same level as Covid-19 and its 6,281,260 deaths worldwide. On the other hand, if we focus on the percentage of people who died in the African regions, compared to the number of cases recorded, monkeypox was more lethal. “This virus, which is of the same family as that of smallpox, poses a problem because [en Afrique] the mortality rate linked to the disease is higher than what is known for SARS-Cov-2”, confirms Etienne Decroly, virologist, researcher at the CNRS.

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Beyond the lethal risk, it is above all the epidemic risk that worries worldwide, even if the disease is not fatal: “I fear (…) that we see under our helpless eyes developing a epidemic which is taking on the appearance of international spread which is becoming quite worrying”, concludes Antoine Flahault, medical epidemiologist and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva.

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