Monkey pox: first death confirmed by WHO

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Monkeypox continues to progress and worries, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) could declare “an international public health emergency”. From January 1 to June 15, 2022, “a total of 2,103 confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization in 42 countries,” WHO said in a statement released Saturday, June 18, 2022. This is the first times that many cases are reported simultaneously in “very disparate geographical areas”.

Otherwise, a first death linked to the disease has been recorded by WHO in Nigeria. This is a 40-year-old man who suffered from kidney disease.

While monkeypox circulated mainly in Central and West African countries, it is now present on several continents. Consequently, the WHO removed the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries from its statistics on monkeypox. The goal is to better “unify” the response to the virus.

“We remove the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries and present countries together when possible, to reflect the unified response that is needed,” she says.

Monkey pox: what is happening in France?

Throughout France, the number of cases continues to increase. Public Health France reported 183 confirmed cases of monkeypox on June 16, 2022 in a press release. Among them, 129 are in Ile-de-France, 13 in Occitanie, 10 in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, 8 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 7 in Hauts-de-France, 7 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’ Azur, 5 in Normandy, 1 in Centre-Val de Loire, 1 in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, 1 Grand-Est and 1 in Brittany.

Otherwise, “the European region is at the center of the spread of the virus, with 1,773 confirmed cases, or 84% of the global total”, details a press release from the WHO. According to them, the virus was already circulating before the current outbreak, but without its transmission being detected. It “could date back to 2017”, she reveals. Indeed, since that date, a few imported cases, particularly from Nigeria, have been identified in several countries.

How to explain this outbreak of cases?

According to the WHO, “the increased susceptibility to monkeypox virus may be related to waning immunity due to discontinuation of smallpox vaccination.” As a reminder, monkeypox has been known in humans since 1970. Nevertheless, it is considered well less dangerous and contagious than its cousin, smallpox, eradicated in 1980. It is a disease considered rare, caused by a virus transmitted to humans by infected animals.

Monkey pox: what are the symptoms?

The virus can be transmitted by direct contact with lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as by droplets (saliva, sneezing, sputtering, etc.). You can also be infected in contact with the patient’s environment (bedding, clothes, crockery, bath linen, etc.). You should also know thatdirect contact with damaged skin during sexual intercourse facilitates transmissionalthough monkeypox is not considered an STI.

“It is therefore important that patients respect isolation for the duration of the illness (until the disappearance of the last crusts, most often three weeks)”, warns Public Health France.

“To date, as in other European countries, these cases occurred predominantly, but not exclusively, in men who have sex with menwith no direct link to people returning from endemic areas”, indicate the French health authorities.

Monkeypox virus infection most often begins by a fever, accompanied by headaches, body aches and asthenia. After about two days often appears a blistering rash on multiple areas of the body. Genito-anal rashes, lymph nodes in the jaw and neck, discomfort when swallowing or repeated coughing are also identifiable symptoms of the disease.

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