The head of the infectiology department at Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris warns of an “epidemic outbreak” in France, when no specific vaccine has yet been found to prevent the disease.
The number of cases is climbing. With 51 people infected on the territory, monkeypox is progressing in France, according to figures from Public Health France. What to worry about? “Rather” yes, for Karine Lacombe, head of the infectiology department at Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris, who confides that the disease still has “many unknowns”, in The Parisian.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, France, like many of its neighbors, is experiencing an increase in cases of monkeypox, a disease that is most often mild, characterized by its impressive pustules.
For Karine Lacombe, the disease is experiencing a “full epidemic outbreak” in the country.
“For the moment, there is no treatment,” she recalls. Only an antiviral, preventive medication or taken as early treatment, is currently available. Still in the development phase, it only exists in small quantities.
While the executive has chosen to vaccinate only people at risk of contact cases against smallpox, the only vaccine currently available, the doctor also wonders about the relevance of this strategy.
“Will this so-called ‘ring’ vaccination be enough to curb the epidemic? Or will it be necessary to go further by also vaccinating contacts of contacts?”, She wonders.
Figures “most likely underestimated”
Despite the increase in cases, the trend still has little impact on the hospital system.
“We do not necessarily see patients arriving at the hospital because many consult their doctor for fever or a rash”, explains Karine Lacombe.
The epidemiologist wants to be cautious despite everything in the face of an epidemic which is potentially evolving in silence.
“The current figures are most likely underestimated,” she believes, recalling that the diagnosis must be made in a specialized center, few in France, to be officially confirmed.
“The parallel varicella epidemic can also create confusion and underdiagnosis,” she adds.
Until research progresses and we know more about this sudden epidemic outbreak, “the only treatment is prevention”, sums up Karine Lacombe, in reference to the vaccine against smallpox.