A first confirmed case of this rare disease, originating in Africa, was detected Thursday in Ile-de-France, announced Friday the French health authorities.
He is a 29-year-old man with no history of travel to a country where the virus is circulating. 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.
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 assessed in many countries and the situation is therefore changing very quickly, health authorities have warned.
Since 2017, a few imported cases, in particular from Nigeria, had been sporadically identified in several countries, in particular in the United Kingdom, without giving rise to epidemics.
“Recently, 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 returning from these countries”, added underlined Friday during a press point Alexandra Mailles, epidemiologist at Public Health France.
Moreover, these cases occurred mainly, but not exclusively, in men who have sex with men.
This context constitutes an “unprecedented situation which we consider as an alert”, declared Alexandra Mailles.
In France, an in-depth epidemiological investigation is implemented following the confirmed case.
The people who have been in close contact with this patient are currently being identified. They will receive information from the health authorities on what to do in order to limit the spread of the virus.
Monkeypox is usually transmitted to humans in forested areas of Central and West Africa by wild rodents or primates. But human-to-human transmission is also possible, through direct contact with skin lesions or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as through droplets.
You can also become contaminated through contact with the patient’s environment (bedding, clothes, dishes, bath linen).
Infection with the virus begins with a fever, which is often high and accompanied by headaches, body aches and fatigue.
After about 2 days, a vesicular eruption appears, the formation of scabs and then scarring. 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, in the mouth and the genital area.
The incubation of the disease can range from 5 to 21 days. The fever phase lasts about 1 to 3 days.
The disease, generally benign, most often heals spontaneously, after 2 to 3 weeks.
At this stage, the cases reported in Europe are mostly mild, and there are no reported deaths.
The disease is more severe in children and in immunocompromised people.
“The reported lethality varies between 1 and 10% but the transmissibility of the virus is less than the Covid,” said Alexandra Mailles on Friday.
“There will be much lighter follow-up of contact cases than that of Covid: unlike what happens with the SARS-Cov2 virus, an infected person is in fact not contagious before the onset of symptoms”, a- she added.
In the event of the appearance of symptoms, it is imperative to isolate yourself and wear a mask, further indicated Public Health France.