Cases of monkey pox may accelerate in Europe, a regional official from the World Health Organization (WHO) is estimated on Friday, while at least eight European countries have identified patients. ” As we enter the summer season of gatherings, festivals and parties, I fear the transmission will accelerate said WHO Director for Europe Hans Kluge.
Since the beginning of May, cases of this virus endemic to West Africa have also been recorded in the United States and Canada.
Monkey smallpox (simian orthopoxvirus) is a disease known since 1970. Close to smallpox, however, it is to this day considered much less serious and less contagious.
Since considered rare, the disease is caused by a pathogen that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. When the virus wins over humans, it is mainly from various wild animals, rodents or primates. Incubation can generally range from 5 to 21 days.
The symptoms are similar, but less severe, to those previously observed in people with smallpox: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Rash can occur, often on the face, and spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals, before going through various stages where the crusts form and fall off.
Transfer ” atypical »
Monkey cups were first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). In the current knowledge of monkey pox as known since 1970, the infection of the first cases is due to direct contact with blood, biological fluids or skin or mucosal lesions of infected animals. Secondary, ie. person-to-person transmission may be due to close contact with infected secretions from the airways, skin lesions from an infected person, or objects that have recently been contaminated with body fluids or materials from the lesions of a patient.
But this time the scale of the transmission ” atypical “, Mr Kluge assessed and emphasized that” all but one of the recent cases were not traveled to areas where monkey pox is endemic “.
However, the increase in apparent outbreaks is worrying, and the WHO has indicated that it is very interested in the fact that some of the cases in the UK appear to have been transmitted within the gay community. ” While close physical contact is a well-known risk factor, it is not known at this time whether monkey pox can be transmitted specifically sexually. “, the WHO wrote on 19 May 2022, adding that” studies are underway to better understand epidemiology, sources of infection and transmission patterns “That said,” everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkey pox “, Underlined in the United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the nation’s most important federal health agency.
Mortality around 3 to 6%
Monkey pox usually heals on its own and the symptoms last 14 to 21 days. Severe cases occur more frequently in children and are related to the extent of exposure to the virus, the patient’s medical condition and the severity of complications.
Depending on the epidemics, the death rate (number of deaths compared to the number of infected) could vary enormously, but it remained below 10% in all documented cases, mainly in young children. WHO specifies that mortality has ” historically fluctuated between 0 and 11% in the general population “. Recently, the rate has been around 3 to 6%, the organization also says.
In the countries where the disease has been spotted recently, the authorities generally want to be reassuring and thus emphasize, for example in Spain, Portugal or the United Kingdom, that the disease is not very contagious between people. And on the same date, at this stage the reported cases are mostly mild and there are no reported deaths “, Emphasizes the French Ministry of Health.
Reduce the risk of transfer
There is no cure for monkey pox, this viral infection is self-healing. But we can curb the outbreaks, the WHO explains. Smallpox vaccination has previously been shown to be 85% effective in preventing this disease, but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after its production was stopped following the global eradication of smallpox. cups in 1979.
There are antiviral drugs against smallpox that can also be used to treat monkey smallpox under certain circumstances, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health said. To reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission, avoid close physical contact with infected people or contaminated materials. Gloves and protective equipment should be worn when caring for sick people and regular hand washing after care or visits to them. WHO recommends isolating patients either at home or at a health center.