Monkeypox or monkeypox (monkeypox) is spreading throughout the world, and so far 85 cases have been confirmed in eight EU countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden), in addition to of several suspected cases that are under investigation.
The WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to be identified in non-endemic countries and warns that it can be serious in some people such as children, pregnant women and people with immune suppression due to other health conditions.
For its part, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also warns of this possible risk.
“Although most cases in the current outbreaks have presented with mild symptoms of illness, monkeypox virus (MPXV) can cause severe illness in certain population groups (young children, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals ). ) .However, the probability of cases with severe morbidity cannot yet be accurately estimated.”
Higher risk in children and pregnant women
If infected, children and pregnant women, as well as immunosuppressed people have a higher risk of serious complications.
According to the WHO, the majority of documented deaths in Africa occur in young children and, in general, younger age groups appear to be more susceptible to monkeypox.
For their part, pregnant women infected with the infection can transmit it to the baby through the placenta, which is known as congenital monkeypox , which could even cause a miscarriage.
The lethality of the outbreaks registered in Africa is between 1% and 10%, according to the WHO, and the majority of deaths occur in young children .
In any case, the intention is not to alarm. It is very important to note that this disease has never occurred outside of Africa , and human infections can cause less severe disease depending on where it occurs.
For example, in western Africa it appears to cause less severe disease with a case fatality rate of 3.6 percent, compared to 10.6 percent in the Congo Basin area.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox does not spread easily. Person-to-person transmission occurs through close contact with infectious material from skin lesions of an infected person, through respiratory droplets in prolonged face-to-face contact, and through fomites, any object that can transmit the virus.
The vast majority of cases were recorded in men who had had sex with other men, but it is not a sexually transmitted disease, and the virus does not understand gender or sexual orientation ; anyone could get infected. In fact, in Extremadura the first suspicious contagion was registered in a woman, currently awaiting laboratory confirmation.
Symptoms of monkeypox
It begins with a headache, muscle aches, fever and fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes are key to differentiating it from another disease. A few days later, a rash appears on the area of the face, hands, feet and genitals, in the form of small liquid-filled vesicles that itch and can spread when they explode.
The incubation period, that is, from infection until symptoms appear, can vary between 5 and 21 days, while symptoms last from 14 to 21 days .
There are no specific treatments or vaccines for monkeypox virus infection. But smallpox vaccine “may be considered for post-exposure prophylaxis of close contacts at increased risk of severe disease; however, a careful risk-benefit assessment for the exposed individual should be made,” they note. the ECDCs. “In addition, antivirals are potential treatment options for severe cases,” they add.