monkey pox

monkey pox

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Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus that has been circulating in Europe for several months. On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

The strategy to reduce human-to-human transmission of monkeypox is based on the following measures:

  • Early detection of possible cases, with contact tracing;
  • Early identification of cases by specialized assessment and diagnostic confirmation by PCR;
  • Isolation of infected patients;
  • Implementation of infection prevention and control measures in the healthcare sector;
  • Vaccination of people at risk.

Following the recommendations of the Higher Council for Infectious Diseases (CSMI) concerning monkeypox, vaccination against this infection may be offered as soon as the vaccine is available on the territory. The first vaccines against monkeypox ordered via the European agency HERA will be delivered during the month of August.

Monkey pox vaccination – why?

People with monkeypox most often recover in 2 to 4 weeks. However, complications such as bacterial superinfections, eye damage, or damage to the central nervous system have been described. In particular, young children, pregnant women, and people with immune deficiencies can be seriously affected by monkeypox. Health personnel are also more exposed to the risk of infection if they have direct and frequent contact with patients. Vaccination is therefore important, on the one hand to protect oneself, on the other hand to protect those around them and to relieve our health system.

Vaccination against monkeypox – for whom?

According to the epidemiological assessment of the World Health Organization (WHO)[1], the likelihood of virus dissemination is considered high among people with multiple partners. The predominance of cases identified in the current epidemic affects men who have sex with men, which is why special attention is paid to this group, as recommended by the WHO.

The Higher Council for Infectious Diseases currently recommends vaccination against monkeypox:

In infection prevention:

  • men who have sex with men reporting multiple sexual partners,
  • transsexual people reporting multiple sexual partners,
  • to sex workers.

After exposure to the virus (between 1 and 14 days following exposure):

  • immunocompromised people who have had a high-risk contact (sexual contact, contact with lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of an infected person, contact within the same household) in the previous 21 days,
  • caregivers who have not applied the appropriate individual protection measures.

Vaccination following exposure to the virus through close contact with an infected person is recommended between 1 and 14 days following contact, vaccination as soon as possible allows better protection:

  • if vaccination is given within 4 days post-contact, infection can be prevented,
  • if vaccination is given within 14 days, the disease may be lessened.

There is no specific monkeypox vaccine authorized in the EU. However, due to the similarity of the viruses, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox also protect against monkeypox. The vaccine is authorized for adults from the age of 18.

The vaccination schedule

Primary vaccination requires two doses 28 days apart and a third dose in an immunocompromised person. A delay of at least 28 days between the 2 doses of vaccine is important to guarantee high efficacy of the vaccine.

Vaccination against monkeypox – how?

Vaccination against monkeypox is carried out by the National Service for Infectious Diseases, at the Luxembourg Hospital Center.

More information on the vaccination procedures will be communicated when the vaccine has been delivered to Luxembourg.

The Ministry of Health has set up a section dedicated to monkey pox on the sante.lu website, in which you will find more information: www.variole-singe.lu.

[1] 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak: Global Trends (shinyapps.io)

Communicated by the Ministry of Health

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