Monkey pox: symptoms, vaccination, transmission… 7 points to understand this emerging disease

France has registered a total of 2,171 declared cases of monkeypox, announced this Tuesday, August 2, at the National Assembly the Minister of Health, François Braun, during questions to the government.

Monkeypox wins. France now has more than 2,000 cases of monkeypox, according to the latest report from Public Health France on Tuesday. In addition, the first deaths among humans infected with the virus outside areas where it was already endemic have occurred. Deaths expected to rise, according to the WHO European office. Update on what we know about the disease.

What is the mode of transmission of the virus?

Monkeypox virus can be transmitted by direct contact with skin lesions or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as with droplets (saliva, sneezes, splashes, etc.). That sex, with or without penetration, meet these conditions for contamination, and having multiple partners increases the risk of exposure to the virus. In particular, direct contact with damaged skin during intercourse facilitates transmission.

Contamination can also occur through contact with the patient’s surroundings (bedding, clothing, crockery, towels, etc.). It is therefore important that patients observe isolation for the entire duration of the disease (until the last scabs disappear, usually 3 weeks).

In Central or West Africa, humans can also be infected by contact with animals, wild or captive, dead or alive, such as rodents or monkeys, details French Public Health.

What are the symptoms?

Fever, headache, chills, fatigueswollen lymph nodes, back pain and muscle pain are the main symptoms, says Health insurance.

Infection with monkeypox virus can also cause outbreak vesicular, made up of fluid-filled vesicles that progress to desiccation, crusting and then scarring. Of itch may occur.

The vesicles are more concentrated on the face, in the ano-genital area, palms and soles, may be present, but also on the trunk and limbs. The mucous membranes are also affected, in the mouth and genital area.

How long does the disease last?

The incubation period of the disease can vary from 5 to 21 days. The fever phase lasts about 1 to 3 days. The disease usually heals spontaneously, after 2 to 3 weeks, but sometimes 4 weeks.

Is it a serious illness?

Most cases of monkeypox are mild, but the virus can become serious for young children, pregnant women and immunocompromised people, the ECDC points out. Severe cases are also associated with the extent of exposure to the virus, the patient’s medical condition, and the severity of complications, particularly reports. France blue.

How do you get tested?

In a press release, the High Authority for Health requests reimbursement for tests to detect infection with the Monkeypox virus. She remembers an important thing, unlike Covid-19, “the diagnosis of infection with the Monkeypox virus is based in the first instance on the clinical examination and the questioning of the patient”.

As HAS explains, it is only after this clinical examination by a doctor, who comes if necessary to confirm or not a “suspicious case”, that the nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) intervenes.

It “makes sense only in a context of affirmation and is not not useful in the absence of symptoms“, specifies HAS in its statement. Performed in the laboratory, The NAAT consists of mucosal samples, skin samples and samples from the oropharyngeal sphere, including a PCR test.

These are powerful molecular tests to detect microorganisms and diagnose the infections they cause.

HAS emphasizes the need to report the results of these tests as soon as possible, as they particularly affect the maintenance or lifting of isolation. Monkeypox is a notifiable disease. As soon as a case is identified, doctors must notify health authorities. Positive people should isolate themselves for at least 3 weeks.

How do you get vaccinated against monkeypox?

The Haute Autorité de Santé recommends preventive vaccination:

  • men who have sex with men and transgender people with multiple partners;
  • professionals working in places of sexual consumption;
  • people in prostitution.

Preventive vaccination for healthcare workers who have not been in contact with a patient is not currently recommended, but can be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on exposure, the existence of risk factors individuals or at their request, according to HAS .

You can find vaccination sites, depending on your location, on the sante.fr website and on the websites of the regional health authorities.

What are the recommendations to follow?

The WHO has advised the group most affected by the disease – men who have sex with men – to reduce the number of sexual partners. Condoms alone cannot provide complete protection against transmission of the virus.

Infected people “must remain in isolation until the scabs fall off,” ECDC says. Patients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised people, pregnant women, small children or pets. It is also recommended to refrain from sexual activity and close physical contact until the rash heals.

Items used by patients, such as clothing, bedding, towels or kitchen utensils, should not be shared with other people. Relatives and caregivers should avoid touching skin lesions with bare hands, wear disposable gloves and observe strict hand hygiene.

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