Monkey pox: profile, transmission, protection... what new studies on the virus tell us

Monkey pox: profile, transmission, protection… what new studies on the virus tell us

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Studies on monkeypox are increasing and knowledge of its mode of transmission is becoming clearer. A latest study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the virus could survive up to 15 days on contaminated surfaces.

The monkeypox epidemic is spreading, on August 11, 2,673 cases of monkeypox were recorded in France. More and more studies specify the mode of transmission of this virus and the profile of the patients.

What is the profile of infected people?

Even if the disease has been known for a long time in Africa, the current epidemic stands out, in particular by the profile of the people affected. In Africa, the disease particularly struck children.

According to three studies, published this summer in prestigious medical journals (Le British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine) the current epidemic mainly concerns adult men in homosexual relationships. They represent almost all of the patients in each of these studies.

What is the mode of transmission?

The mode of transmission of monkeypox is also becoming clearer. We have known for some time that the virus is mainly transmitted “by direct contact with the skin lesions or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as by droplets (saliva, sneezing, sputters…)” explains Public Health France . Sexual intercourse seems to bring together the conditions of contamination in particular. In addition, multiplying the number of partners increases the risk of exposure to the virus.

A recent study also highlighted the survival of the virus on household objects and surfaces. Several US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have taken samples from objects and surfaces touched by an infected person. The virus was found on the objects 15 days after they were used. Another important point, whatever the surface, the positivity rate was the same. Therefore, it is essential to note that monkeypox is also transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces.

Another novelty, the medical journal The Lancet demonstrated transmission of monkeypox virus from humans to dogs. On June 10, two men tested positive. 12 days later “mucosal lesions, including abdominal pustules and a fine anal ulceration” were discovered on their dog, a 4-year-old Italian greyhound. After a PCR test, the animal also tested positive. This is the first case of transmission from humans to domestic animals.

How to protect yourself?

The risks of catching the virus for the general public are rather low, however a number of precautions can be taken to protect themselves. If the new studies specify the mode of transmission of the disease, washing your hands with soap or hydroalcoholic gel remains the most recommended barrier gesture, especially in the event of contact with a contaminated surface. It is generally necessary to avoid all contact with a contaminated or potentially contaminated person, as well as with any object that he could have used.

Finally, if you are a person considered to be a priority (homosexuals with multiple partners, sex workers or professionals in places of sexual consumption) you can benefit from the vaccine. You can find the vaccination centers closest to you on an interactive map on the Sante.fr website. The complete vaccination schedule includes two doses 28 days apart. So far 56,000 doses have been destocked, but recently France placed an order for 1.5 million doses, the vaccination campaign should develop in the coming weeks.

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