Monkey pox: the number of cases on the rise, who is concerned by vaccination?

MONKEYPOX. While cases of monkey pox are increasing in France, the Minister of Health has shown herself to be in favor of vaccinating caregivers and contact cases. The Internet user takes stock.

The essential

  • Monkeypox – also “Monkeypox” – is spreading and worrying. It is the subject of particular attention by the WHO: to date, more than 100 cases of contamination have been identified in nearly 20 countries around the world. In the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal in particular, the virus is circulating more and more. The WHO has warned that the virus will spread more actively.
  • Seven first cases of monkey pox have been identified in France. On May 24, the health agency indicates that these contaminations are linked to “men who have sex with men” but “without direct links with people returning from endemic areas”, namely Central and South Africa. ‘west.
  • On May 24, the French High Authority for Health unveiled its vaccine strategy to combat the spread of the virus in a press release. This vaccination will concern confirmed cases, that is to say adults whose contact with an infected person is considered to be at risk. On RTL, Wednesday May 25, the Minister of Health Brigitte Bourguignon was in favor of vaccinating caregivers and contact cases against monkeypox.
  • 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.
  • Santé Publique France looked into the monkeypox virus and gave some information: “The monkeypox is a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. Cases are often observed near tropical rainforests where there are animals carrying the virus”, indicates SPF, which adds: “Transmission takes place by direct contact with the blood, body fluids or lesions of the skin or mucous membranes of infected animals, for example by a bite or a scratch” .
  • Transmission is seen “mainly in individuals who identify as gay or bisexual or in men who have sex with men,” the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told the BBC on Sunday.


11:50 – In the rest of the world, the evolution of monkeypox is stable

Canada (15 cases), the United States (9), Australia (2), Israel (1) and the United Arab Emirates (1) are the six non-European countries with cases considered confirmed. As a reminder, suspected cases are not counted in the balance sheet.

11:21 – What is the situation in Europe?

Apart from the 11 African countries where monkeypox is endemic, three countries currently concentrate the bulk of confirmed cases: the United Kingdom with 71 cases, Spain (51 cases) and Portugal (37), according to the ECDC. Europe is the most affected continent with 191 cases, including 118 in EU countries.

10:48 – Contaminations linked to “men having sex with men”

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that “most monkeypox cases are young males, self-identifying as men who have sex with men.” “There were no deaths,” said the European agency.

10:20 – Over 200 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide

To date, 219 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported from 19 countries where the virus does not normally circulate endemic. This rapid circulation is beginning to worry scientists, but above all the European health authorities who are taking preventive measures, like the United Kingdom (country where there are the most contaminations) which is launching a campaign to screen for contact cases. . In addition, Belgium has decreed a three-week total isolation of infected people.

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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).