While Public Health France lists around a thousand cases of monkeypox in France, mainly in Île-de-France, “the epidemic that we observe” approximate “of a sexually transmitted infection”testifies on franceinfo Dr Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist at the Garches hospital in the Hauts-de-Seine.
>> Monkey pox: eligible populations, waiting times, injection methods… Five questions about vaccination
franceinfo: Is it a disease to be taken seriously?
Dr Benjamin Davido: Yes, absolutely. In reality, we wanted so much at the beginning not to stigmatize the population at risk [les hommes ayant des relations homosexuelles] that we stayed with historical descriptions of monkeypox in its original version, that is to say the epidemic that raged in Africa. In reality, what we observe today is typically the presentation of a sexually transmitted infection with sometimes lesions that are very difficult to discern, which can be very small and pass for a completely common disease. And unfortunately, the fact of missing the diagnosis means that we will not consult and that we will contaminate.
Is it considered a sexually transmitted disease?
This is the annoying question. Officially, the Anglo-Saxons speak of a sexually transmitted infection, but not of a sexually transmitted disease. In fact, there are elements in certain publications on series of small cases which show that the sperm of sick patients was also contaminating. It is highly likely that this definition will change.
“Until then we did not talk about that because we were based on the disease that we know, which has no or very little transmission on very close reports. But we can see that it is a disease which, affecting the genitals, is partly sexual.”Dr Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist
Were there more serious evolutions of the disease?
We know that there can be severe forms. The risk is to infect immunocompromised people, for example, and there are also hospitalized patients. It obviously remains on the margins but we ourselves had a patient who had a severe ENT form. And then one of the complications may be superinfection.
Where are we with the vaccine that exists today?
You have to be very modest. What we can hope for is an effectiveness of at least 60% and we hope that this vaccination will slow down, if not extinguish, the epidemic. We were late in relation to the fact that we had a logistical concern, in terms of organization and accessible doses. This decision [l’ouverture de la vaccination préventive] has in any case been the right one, very clearly, because the objective is a preventive vaccine, it is not to wait until we are in the detection of contact cases to go and vaccinate those who wish it . The problem is that today we based this vaccination on phone calls. it corks to the standard, very clearly. We receive around 80 calls in one morning and we keep around 20 appointments.