Monkey pox: the number of cases is increasing, health protocols put in place

MONKEYPOX. 7 cases of monkey pox have been confirmed in France. Public Health France invites people at risk to be vaccinated and deploys health protocols for sick people and contact cases to avoid an epidemic.

The essential

  • Monkey pox – also called “Monkeypox” – is circulating in France. Public Health France has 7 confirmed cases in France. This rare disease is spreading particularly in Europe and North America with more than a hundred contaminations identified across 20 countries.
  • The Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourguignon and Public Health France call on people with contact cases and caregivers to be vaccinated against monkeypox as a precautionary measure, the Minister however wanted to be reassuring and indicated on May 25 on RTL an outbreak of the disease is not expected.
  • Public Health France has also developed health protocols for people infected with monkeypox, suspected cases and contact cases to prevent the epidemic spread of the virus.
  • Monkeypox is often mild, but it can cause serious symptoms, especially in humans. It is potentially fatal in very rare and very serious cases. No vaccine exists.


08:49 – When do you become a contact case of monkeypox?

A contact case person is considered as such after direct and unprotected physical contact with the broken skin or biological fluids of a monkeypox patient, whether probable or confirmed. A person can also become a contact case after unprotected contact within two meters and for 3 hours with a probable or confirmed case of monkeypox.

08:34 – What health protocol for contact cases?

Contact persons must also be vigilant and respect a health protocol essentially focused on vaccination. Public Health France recommends the injection of a third generation vaccine “ideally within 4 days after the risky contact and at most 14 days later”. The vaccination schedule should include two doses spaced 28 days apart. Vaccination does not dispense with being attentive to the symptoms, the contact cases of which called upon to monitor their temperature, “the fever signing the beginning of the contagiousness and being earlier than the rash” cutaneous caused by monkeypox. If the symptoms of the disease appear, the contact cases must isolate themselves and call the SAMU and above all not go to the emergency room.

08:20 – Strict isolation recommended for monkeypox patients

Public Health France indicates that all people infected with monkeypox and whose contamination is confirmed by a PCR test must isolate themselves in their homes for three weeks from the onset of symptoms. Isolation must be strict because the patient must not be in contact with other members of the household and neither clothes, linens, bedding or dishes must be shared. Wearing a surgical mask is also required. As the disease can be transmitted by contact with mucous membranes, waste from wounds or in contact with them must be thrown into a dedicated bag. At the end of the isolation, the rooms and all the linen must be scrupulously cleaned.

08:08 – Safer and more effective Imvanex vaccine against monkeypox

The Imvanex vaccine was developed in the 2000s and has a “tolerance profile, better than that of 1st and 2nd generation vaccines” developed in the 1970s and 1980s before the World Health Organization announced eradication of smallpox worldwide. The High Authority for Health adds that the Danish vaccine benefits from a “mode of administration and a much more favorable safety profile than those of the 1st and 2nd generation vaccines, while ensuring comparable immunogenicity. It has been shown that the Smallpox vaccination was 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

07:58 – HAS recommends the use of smallpox vaccines

Public Health France recommends the vaccination of people who are contact cases of monkeypox and caregivers and the High Authority for Health (HAS) favors the use of third-generation smallpox vaccines to prevent the spread of the disease close to smallpox. These sera are 85% effective against monkeypox. The HAS cites in particular the Danish vaccine Imvanex developed by the company Bavarian Nordik.

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The General Directorate of Health (DSG) announced, on Tuesday May 25, 2022, the detection of two new cases of monkeypox in France, bringing the number of infected to 7. As during the very first contamination, the Ministry of Health clarified that “as soon as the suspicion of his infection, this person was taken care of. In the absence of gravity, he is isolated at his home”. The first patient was “a 29-year-old man with no history of travel to a country where the virus is circulating”. To stem the circulation of the virus, the health authorities announced that an “in-depth epidemiological investigation would be implemented by the teams of Public Health France” and that “the people who have been in close contact with these patients are being identified” .

According to the first findings of the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox originated in Central and West Africa. Countries such as Nigeria or Cameroon would be the main sources of origin. Known since the 1970s, this disease usually tends to develop in tropical areas. Seeing it develop in countries without this climate comes as a surprise to scientists.

Cases of monkeypox have been imported into Western countries since its discovery, including the United States, where they have remained “rare”, according to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). Indeed, in the spring of 2003, cases had been confirmed in the country, thus marking the first appearance of this disease outside the African continent.

New cases of monkeypox are on the rise worldwide and the WHO has warned health authorities in all countries that the increase is to be expected. Below, find the data graphed by Ourworldindata, which allows you to visualize the evolution of the circulation of the disease.

The number of contaminations remains for the moment quite limited, we note in Europe a more important phenomenon of transmission in the United Kingdom, unless the services of the health authorities have developed more efficient means to identify new cases of monkey pox. The map proposed by Ourdatainworld makes it possible to measure the distortions in the spread of monkeypox in the different continents of the world.

England was the first to sound the alarm. A first patient with monkeypox was identified there on May 7, it was a person returning from a trip to Nigeria. The British health security agency assures that with the exception of the first case detected, the transmission between the other cases would have taken place within the country. Since then, the number of cases has steadily increased. Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States have, in turn, reported having spotted the presence of monkeypox, or what appears to be, on their territory. Sweden and Italy followed. Nearly 20 countries are concerned.

According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox is contracted by “consumption of undercooked meat from infected animals.” Indeed, originally, it is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted by animals, mainly rodents. Human transmission would be the result of contact with a person already contaminated or with their organic fluids (saliva in particular).

But monkeypox can also be transmitted through close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person, or objects recently contaminated with body fluids or material from a patient’s lesions. Sexual relations could thus spread the disease according to the British Health Security Agency. Protected intercourse is therefore recommended.

Symptoms resemble those of smallpox patients, but milder. In the first 5 days, the infection causes several symptoms: fever, headache, swelling of the lymph nodes (adenopathy), back pain, muscle pain (myalgia) and exhaustion (asthenia).

Within 1-3 days (sometimes longer) of the onset of fever, the patient develops rash symptoms that often start on the face and then spread to other parts of the body, including the palms of the hands , the soles of the feet and the mucous membranes (mouth and genital area). Itching is common. The lesions pass through different successive stages: macules, papules, vesicles, pustules and crusts. When the scabs fall off, people are no longer contagious. The other mucous membranes (ENT, conjunctivae) may also be affected. “The incubation of the disease can range from 5 to 21 days. The fever phase lasts about 1 to 3 days. The disease, generally mild, most often heals spontaneously, after 2 to 3 weeks” emphasizes Public Health France .

If the symptoms seem virulent, especially in men, the mortality rate remains low. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) affirms that “in general, the fatality rate has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in the youngest”. Two years after the start of the coronavirus epidemic, should we be worried about the spread of a new virus? According to Antoine Gessain, head of the epidemiology and physiopathology of oncogenic viruses unit at the Institut Pasteur, monkeypox presents only a low level of danger, as he explained to BFM-TV. No vaccine is necessary. He even wants to be reassuring: “there is not much risk of a major pandemic.”

Some countries quickly adopted measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The health authorities of Portugal and Spain have thus triggered a national health alert. Italy said the situation was “under constant surveillance” and Swedish authorities are “now investigating with regional infection control centers to find out if there are more cases”.

Spain decided to take the lead. The Iberian kingdom said on Thursday that it was preparing to purchase thousands of smallpox vaccines, normally intended to fight against smallpox, an extremely serious disease that the WHO had declared eradicated in 1980. “We must find a way to quickly buy these vaccines because it is a very valuable tool to stop the epidemic”, commented to the Madrid daily El Pais Elena Andradas, the director general of public health for the community of Madrid. This vaccine is not intended to be administered to the general population, but only to contacts of confirmed cases.

According to an article in La Tribune, at the end of 2012, France had a strategic stock of 1st generation vaccines of more than 82 million doses. These stocks have been kept for 40 years by the Army Health Service (SSA).