Monkey pox: transmission to the general population is “possible” according to a Bordeaux doctor

Charles Cazanave is an infectious disease specialist at the Bordeaux University Hospital. (©News Bordeaux / Nicolas Gosselin)

At July 21, 2022, 72 cases of monkey pox had been identified in New Aquitaine. HAS Bordeaux (Gironde)the first case was identified on June 8.

It is difficult to obtain more precise data from Public Health for the Gironde, but at the Bordeaux University Hospital, there has been an increase in cases “for a few days”, explains infectious disease specialist Charles Cazanave.

In France, preventive vaccination with the vaccine against smallpox has been recommended by the Haute Autorité de Santé since July 7 for people who have had contact with sick people in the four days following exposure and people considered to be the most exposed to the virus: “Men who have sex with men, multi-partner trans people, people in prostitution, professionals working in places of sexual consumption”.

Three vaccination sites in Bordeaux

In Gironde, you must make an appointment with three hospitals to access this vaccination: the Saint-André hospital, the Haut Lévêque hospital and the CHU de Pellegrin.

General practitioners and pharmacists are not authorized to vaccinate. “It is a contingent vaccine that we reserve in the event of bioterrorism to immunize the population if there is one day a smallpox attack”, explains Charles Cazanave.

Access to doses is therefore highly regulated. “We at CHU Bordeaux are not too bad between demand and supply,” he says.

Pimples that can be painful

When monkeypox strikes, symptoms usually begin with fever, body aches, lymph nodes, and throat pain.

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This is followed by pimples in the genital, anal or mouth areas that can be mistaken for chickenpox pimples but with little or no itching.

They can however be painful when they grow on the mucous membranes. Hospitalizations are rare, except “for a few patients who have a lot of lesions all over the body”.

Monkeypox less contagious than chickenpox

In the event of a declaration of symptoms, it is recommended to call 15 who will tell you what to do. Isolation until the lesions disappear, generally 3 weeks, is recommended.

Nationally, “96% of cases for which sexual orientation is indicated occurred in men who have sex with men”, writes Santé Publique France.

However, the risk of this disease reaching the general population cannot be excluded. “This is not the case on July 25, 2022, but as is often the case in emerging diseases which are confined to one group, they can move on to another group”, specifies the professor.

Of the 1,567 confirmed in the country, seven are women and two are children. “It remains trivial, but it is possible. From what we know of the epidemic in Africa, when there was contamination from animals, there were not many secondary cases in the outbreaks. It is not a disease that is extremely contagious from person to person. It is probably less so than chickenpox,” adds Charles Cazanave.

Monkeypox is transmitted by close contact of the skin or mucous membranes with pimples or by droplets. However, this transmission by droplets “which could cause the disease to spread in the general population is not the major route of transmission”.

Focus on prevention to avoid spread

Of the 528 infected people who were followed by a study published on July 21 in the New England Journal of Medicinesexual transmission is suspected in 95% of cases.

The World Health Organization points out for its part that “although close physical contact is a well-known risk factor for transmission, it is not yet clearly established that monkeypox can be transmitted specifically by sexual way.

On July 23, the WHO triggered its highest level of alert to contain monkeypox globally.

There are some reassuring things about this infection. “There is no death in France, there is no after-effect, no scar, very little hospitalization”, lists Charles Cazanave.

He calls not to underestimate this epidemic and to focus on prevention so that the virus does not spread further. “The epidemic is not contained because the cases keep increasing. Nor can we predict how the virus will evolve, whether it will become more transmissible or more pathogenic. »

A telephone platform for information on monkeypox has been set up: 0801 90 80 69. It is accessible 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

To find the vaccination centers in Gironde, follow this link

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