After the United States and several European countries, France is affected by monkeypox: an “unprecedented” situation since the identified cases are not directly related to people returning from endemic areas.
A first confirmed case of this rare disease, originating in Africa, was detected on Thursday in Ile-de-France, French health authorities announced on Friday.
He is a 29-year-old man with no travel history to a country where the virus is circulating. As soon as his infection was suspected, this person was treated and, in the absence of seriousness, has since been isolated at his home.
Since May 14, nine cases have been identified in the United Kingdom, five in Portugal, two in Canada, one in the United States, one in Italy, two in Belgium and one in Sweden.
Suspected cases are being evaluated in many countries and therefore the situation is changing very quickly, health authorities warned.
Since 2017, some imported cases, particularly from Nigeria, had been identified sporadically in several countries, notably the United Kingdom, without leading to epidemics.
“Lately, the alert is relatively different: the reports made correspond to cases of people who have not traveled to the countries where the virus usually circulates and who have not had contact with people who return from these countries,” he stressed this Friday during a conference. of press. Alexandra Mailles, an epidemiologist at Public Health France.
Furthermore, these cases occurred primarily, but not exclusively, in men who have sex with men.
This context constitutes an “unprecedented situation that we consider to be an alert”, declared Alexandra Mailles.
In France, an in-depth epidemiological investigation is implemented after the confirmed case.
People who have been in close contact with this patient are currently being identified. They will receive information from health authorities on what to do to limit the spread of the virus.
Monkeypox is usually transmitted to humans in forested areas of central and western Africa through rodents or wild primates. But transmission from person to person is also possible, through direct contact with lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as through droplets.
It can also become contaminated by contact with the patient’s environment (bedding, clothing, dishes, bathroom linen).
Virus infection begins with a fever, which is often high and is accompanied by headaches, body aches, and fatigue.
After about 2 days, a blistering rash, crusting, and then scarring appear. Itching is common.
The bubbles are more concentrated on the face, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The mucous membranes are also affected, both in the mouth and in the genital area.
The incubation of the disease can vary from 5 to 21 days. The fever phase lasts about 1 to 3 days.
The disease, generally benign, usually heals spontaneously, after 2 to 3 weeks.
At this stage, the reported cases in Europe are mostly mild and there are no reported deaths.
The disease is more severe in children and in immunosuppressed people.
“The reported lethality varies between 1 and 10% but the transmissibility of the virus is less than that of Covid,” Alexandra Mailles specified on Friday.
“There will be a follow-up of + contact cases + much lighter than that of Covid: unlike what happens with the SARS-Cov2 virus, an infected person is not contagious before the onset of symptoms,” he added.
In the event of the appearance of symptoms, it is imperative to isolate yourself and wear a mask, Public Health France also indicated.
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