Faced with monkeypox, several countries are taking health measures

Since the first reports at the beginning of May, cases of monkeypox, a zoonosis originating from central Africa, have continued to increase. This Tuesday, May 24, the Czech Republic hitherto spared in Europe announced its first case of “monkeypox”.

→ EXPLANATION. Monkey pox: HAS recommends the vaccination of contact persons

In its latest report, the European Union Agency for Diseases (ECDC) identified 67 cases in nine countries including Austria, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Sweden. Other cases have also been confirmed in Australia, Canada and the United States.

→ REREAD. Monkey pox: a first confirmed case in France

This rapid growth raises concern. “In the usual absence of monkeypox in Europe and of a link reported by the cases identified with a risk area, the current European context constitutes an alert and suggests contamination in Europe”, warned on May 19 Public Health France.

Vaccinate contact persons

In France, the implementation of a vaccination strategy is envisaged by the health authorities. In a press release published this Tuesday, May 24, the High Authority for Health recommends vaccinating “adults whose contact with an infected person is considered to be at risk, including health professionals exposed without personal protective measures”. This vaccination must be carried out, according to the health authorities, “only with the third generation vaccine”.

→ ANALYSIS. Monkeypox: French health authorities are stepping up their surveillance

For the moment, only three cases have been confirmed in France since the appearance of the first symptoms in a 29-year-old man last Thursday in the Paris region. As soon as his infection was suspected, this person was taken care of and, in the absence of seriousness, has since been isolated at his home.

Across the Atlantic, the United States is also preparing to vaccinate people who have been in close contact with patients with monkeypox. “We want to maximize the distribution of vaccines to those who we know would benefit,” assured Monday, May 23 Jennifer McQuiston, manager at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)

A statement made as the country, which today has five probable or confirmed cases, is about to see their number increase. A first case has been confirmed in Massachusetts and four others are about to be analyzed but considered very probable (one in New York, one in Florida, two in Utah). All are men who have traveled outside the United States.

21-day quarantine in Belgium

Belgium, which has seen three cases of smallpox appear in recent days, imposed a twenty-one-day quarantine on patients on Friday May 20. ” A decision taken after consultation with the RAG, the Risk Assessment Group”, reported the Belgian Agency for Care and Health. The magnitude of the epidemic is becoming “more and more clear (…). This is unheard of before with monkeypox viruses,” explained for his part the virologist Marc Van Ranst on Twitter.

Despite this measure, the Minister of Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, was reassuring: the present transmission “a low risk for the general population”, he explained in a press release on Friday. For his part, the virologist Marc Van Ranst reminds that the transmission is done “by very close physical contact” (including sexual contact) or via a “Infection by droplets (large and probably also small drops) in interior spaces”.


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