It is now the largest outbreak of monkeypox (monkeypox, in English) never observed outside Africa. More than 180 cases have been confirmed in 16 countries around the world, mainly (90%) in Europe and in particular in the United Kingdom, where 57 cases have been declared, but also in Spain (41) and Portugal (37). Twenty cases have also been identified in North America (5 in the United States and 15 in Canada). No serious cases have been identified so far.
In France, only five cases have been confirmed at this stage. But the High Authority for Health (HAS), seized by the Directorate General for Health on the subject, recommended, Tuesday, May 24, to vaccinate adults who have been in contact with an infected person, including health professionals exposed without individual protection measure. The independent authority recommends using the Imvanex smallpox vaccine, said to be third generation, ideally administered within four to fourteen days after the risky contact. Two doses are required, spaced twenty-eight days apart.
On Monday, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) also announced that it was preparing to distribute smallpox vaccines to people who have been in contact with a confirmed case. Immunity against smallpox also provides good immunity against monkeypox, although the latter is much less dangerous than its cousin, eradicated in 1980. Two vaccines against smallpox are authorized in the United States. One of them, ACAM2000, is a live attenuated vaccine causing side effects “potentially significant”estimated Jennifer McQuiston, director of the department of high-risk pathogens at the CDC. According to her, the large-scale distribution of this vaccine would require “a real discussion”.
However, is the epidemic already out of control? “It is a situation that can be controlled, particularly in the countries where we see this epidemic occurring in Europe”underlined, Monday, Maria Van Kerkhove, in charge of the fight against Covid-19 but also of emerging diseases and zoonoses at the World Health Organization (WHO). “We are in a situation where we can use public health tools of early identification coupled with the isolation of cases”she added. At the first symptoms, usually a rash on the face spreading to the rest of the body, patients are encouraged to isolate themselves quickly, until the lesions caused by the disease “be completely cured”says a report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published on Monday.
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