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Monkeypox vaccine? What to do if you are affected

HEALTH – Arm yourself against monkeypox. From this Monday, July 11, the government will extend vaccination against “monkey pox” to “most exposed groups”, in particular homosexual people, multi-partner trans people, people in prostitution and professionals in places of sexual consumption, regardless of the status of these places after an opinion from the High Health Authority (HAS) to this effect.

In France, according to the latest figures, as of July 7, 721 cases have been confirmed, including 473 in Ile-de-France For the moment, the spread of the virus is mainly among men who have sex with men ( 98% of cases in France).

In this configuration, the ARS (regional health agency) Île-de-France has announced the opening of new vaccination centers for people with contact cases. The new categories eligible for preventive vaccination “will be able to start making appointments as of next week – that is to say this Monday – if they wish”, announced Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health, on July 8. a press briefing. The vaccine should ideally be administered within 4 days after the date of the last risky contact and a maximum of 14 days later.

  • How is monkeypox transmitted?

The monkeypox (its English name), recalls the ARS, has two modes of transmission. As with Covid, prolonged contact within 3 meters with someone carrying the virus can promote transmission due to microdroplets and respiratory secretions.

The other main mode of transmission is “close and direct contact with this person via skin lesions (wounds, scabs), bodily fluids (blood, saliva, semen) or mucous membranes (mouth, anus, natural orifices producing mucus)”, and contaminated objects.

At this time, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection. DNA from the virus has been found in the semen of sick people, but it is not yet known if this is enough to transmit the disease.

  • The first symptoms of monkeypox

What makes the rapid detection of monkeypox particularly difficult are its first symptoms, which strongly resemble those of flu or Covid: fever, headache, chills, muscle aches.

Another particularly alerting sign, the swelling “of the glands located around the ears, in the neck and the nape of the neck”.

This first wave of so-called “invasive” symptoms appears after an incubation period “which can range from 5 to 21 days (7 to 14 days observed on average)”. A fairly long period which can make it difficult to identify the contaminating person. SPF also underlines: “Most of the cases investigated declare that they cannot identify the person who allegedly contaminated them”.

  • When pimples appear

The monkeypox disease then manifests itself by the appearance of pimples on the body, generally within one to three days of the first symptoms, explains the Health Insurance.

“The whole body can be affected, especially the palms and soles of the feet, the face and the scalp. Depending on the mode of contamination, these lesions can affect the anogenital region and oral mucosa”, notes the ARS.

These lesions evolve to fill with a liquid – particularly contaminating – before drying. The health authority recommends covering the lesions with a bandage or cloth to avoid contamination.

  • Detection and treatment of monkeypox

If you think you have contracted monkeypox because you have been in contact with an infected person, because you have returned from a trip to an African country where the virus usually circulates, or because you have multiple partners and anonymous -regardless of your sexual orientation-, contact your doctor or 15, who can then guide you. As a precaution, isolate yourself.

After the medical consultation, a PCR test on a lesion will confirm that you have indeed contracted monkeypox. If this is the case, and you are within the vaccination period (up to 14 days after the risky contact), you can get vaccinated.

If you are part of one of the “most exposed groups” cited by HAS – “men who have sex with men and trans people reporting multiple sexual partners, people in prostitution, places of sexual consumption, whatever the status of these places”-, you can make an appointment for preventive vaccination as of Monday.

Marketed under the name Imvanex in Europe, the vaccine used is a 3rd generation vaccine (non-replicating live vaccine, that is to say that does not replicate in the human body), authorized in Europe since 2013 and indicated against smallpox in adults.

“We are now able to meet the needs of the centers in the coming weeks”, assured Jérôme Salomon, not mentioning “difficulties in accessing this vaccine”.

  • Roommate, couple… How to isolate yourself during illness

Once the diagnosis has been made, you must register with the ARS, it is mandatory, and inform the people with whom you have been in contact since the start of your symptoms. You also have to isolate yourself.

“You will have to wear a surgical mask and not have physical contact with other people, in particular by maintaining isolation from other people within the home”, specifies the ARS.

In addition to the ventilation of the rooms, it is preferable not to share toilets or objects, or to disinfect them with bleach in which case.

The duration of isolation is three weeks from the date of the first signs, but this period may be reduced to two on medical advice and if all the lesions have disappeared.

The ARS has also distilled several instructions on the procedure to follow for cleaning your accommodation:

  • Keep waste such as vesicle crusts in dedicated trash bags.

  • Perform dust vacuuming and regular washing of floors and surfaces.

  • Wash the linen in contact with the body of the infected person, if possible at 60°C for 30 minutes with a usual detergent.

  • At the end of isolation: Careful cleaning of the home including surfaces, bedding, clothes and dishes must be carried out.

  • Complications from monkey pox?

Monkeypox remains an essentially mild disease with a case fatality rate of less than 10% in cases observed worldwide. Nevertheless, serious cases can occur, “more frequently in children, pregnant women and immunocompromised people”.

Social Security notes, however, that cases may require hospitalization. In particular when monkeypox causes ENT or digestive complications, eye or lung damage, or when there are too many skin lesions (more than 100) or in cases of superinfection of these lesions.

See also on The HuffPost: With the 7th wave of Covid, putting the mask back on in these places is a good idea

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