Monkey pox: symptoms, vaccination, duration of the disease… can we compare Monkeypox to Covid?

Monkeypox, present on French territory, still leaves many questions unanswered. This disease causes some similarities with Covid-19.

A new worrying disease in Europe: monkey pox, even though the Covid page is not completely turned. England was the first to sound the alarm. 17 cases were confirmed in France this Monday, May 30 by the health authorities. Should we fear a new epidemic? Can we compare the situation with the Covid pandemic? We take stock.

Common symptoms

The main point of comparison between the two diseases is at the level of symptoms, but not all. Common symptoms include fever, severe fatigue or a feeling of exhaustion, headache and body aches. These feelings can appear several days after contamination (between 5 and 21 days for monkey pox, 3 to 14 days for Covid).

Following these symptoms, the monkeypox progresses and causes rashes, which is not the case with the coronavirus.

Similar disease duration

Monkeypox lasts between two and four weeks, while Covid-19 is a disease whose signs disappear in most cases in two to three weeks. However, some patients may still experience symptoms more than four weeks after infection.

In a press release, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) describes monkeypox as an “unusual phenomenon”. Unlike Covid-19, where the incubation period is five days, that of monkeypox can range from five to twenty-one daysaccording to the first analyzes relayed by our colleagues from CNews.

What about the mode of transmission?

Unlike the coronavirus, “Monkeypox is not easily transmitted between people”, says Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections within the British health security agency, at our colleagues from The Republican East.

As a reminder, to contract the disease, it is necessary to have had a close contact with an infected patient by monkeypox. To be infected, one must have been exposed to “damage to the skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected body fluids or even contact with contaminated laundry”.

Contact cases

In a press release dated May 25, 2022, Public Health France defines a contact case of monkeypox as follows: “Anyone who has had direct, unprotected physical contact with damaged skin or biological fluids of a probable or confirmed symptomatic case, regardless of the circumstances including sexual intercourse, acts of medical or paramedical care, or sharing of toilet utensils, or contact with textiles (clothing, bath linen, bedding) or dirty dishes used by the probable or confirmed symptomatic case.”

“Anyone who has had unprotected contact within 2 meters for three hours with a probable or confirmed symptomatic case (e.g. close or intimate friend, people sharing the same living space with no intimate connection, neighbor for long-term transport , people sharing the same office, act of care or hygiene, same school class, university TD room, sports club for contact sports, sports halls, etc.).”

For Covid, Health Insurance defines a contact case this way:

A person is a contact case if they have been in contact with a Covid-19 positive person without effective protective measures. which are :

  • a physical separation isolating the contact person from the confirmed or probable case by creating two spaces without communication;
  • a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask, or a “general public filtration greater than 90%” fabric mask (corresponding to category 1 (Afnor)), worn by the confirmed or probable case or the contact case person.
  • having had direct contact with the person positive for Covid-19, face-to-face, less than 2 meters away, whatever the duration (example: conversation, meal, physical contact);
  • having given or received acts of hygiene or care to the person who is positive (or probably positive) for Covid-19;
  • having shared an indoor space (office or meeting room, personal vehicle, etc.) for at least 15 consecutive or cumulative minutes over 24 hours with the positive person or having remained face-to-face with them during several episodes of coughing or sneeze.

Another notable difference: recent cases of Monekypox have occurred primarily, but not exclusively, in men who have sex with men. While the coronavirus affects all categories of the population.

Vaccination against Covid and against monkeypox

In order to stop its progression, the High Authority of Health, in a report published on May 24, positioned itself in favor of an “active vaccination strategy”.

“HAS today recommends the implementation of a reactive vaccination strategy, i.e. around a confirmed case: adults whose contact with an infected person is considered to be at risk, including health professionals exposed without personal protective measures,” she said in a statement. For the time being, therefore, there is no question of vaccinating the entire population. Nothing to do with the vaccination campaign against Covid carried out in France.

Fewer fatal risks

In Africa, the main continent affected, the WHO estimates that the mortality rate for monkeypox is between 1 and 10%. The Covid did much more damage 6.27 million deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic.=

It should also be pointed out that previous cases detected outside West Africa have not led to pandemics. In 2003, about 70 cases of monkeypox had been identified in the United States, “thus marking the first appearance of this disease outside the African continent”, notes the WHO, but not resulting in an epidemic.

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