In France, some 4,100 cases have been recorded so far for mpox (the new name for the disease announced Monday by the WHO).
The “most probable” scenario for monkeypox is the continuation of a “low noise” epidemic, with, in the medium and long term, a risk of resumption, according to an opinion from the Monitoring Committee published on Monday and recommending to better prepare for it.
“The current epidemic is decreasing in a major way”, but it “remains difficult” to assess the risks of rebound or resurgence of monkeypox due to “a large number of unknowns”, notes the Monitoring Committee and anticipation of health risks (Covars), successor to the Scientific Council, chaired by immunologist Brigitte Autran.
In France, some 4,100 cases have been recorded so far for mpox, a new name for the disease (monkeypox, in English) announced Monday by the World Health Organization.
More than 130,000 vaccinations in France
In the short term, for the most exposed, mainly men having homosexual relations (MSM) with several partners, the scenario favored by the Covars is that the virus continues to circulate “low noise” but evolves towards elimination, if the prevention and vaccination continue.
“If behavior relaxes and vaccination coverage remains insufficient”, the committee does not, however, exclude a “rebound in the epidemic”.
About 132,750 vaccinations had been carried out in France as of November 17, on a target population “estimated between 100,000 and 300,000 people, depending on the intensity of the risk”.
After a peak at the end of August, the rate of vaccination fell sharply to stabilize around 3,000 per week – mainly second injections – at the start of November.
Possible “seasonal” resumptions of the epidemic
In the medium and long term, the Covars deems the elimination of mpox on an international scale “unlikely” and therefore considers “a risk of epidemic resumptions”, even “seasonal”, in France, even if the epidemic would be controlled. in the country by then.
The degree of immunity, by contamination or vaccination, remains notably unknown.
“We must remain very careful,” insisted modeler Simon Cauchemez, of the Institut Pasteur, during a press briefing from Covars.
The committee recommends “maintaining and strengthening the efforts in place to achieve the elimination of the ‘monkeypox’ virus infection within 3 months on national territory and to continue these efforts in order to prevent the risk of future epidemic rebounds. “. Firstly through prevention, with concerted action by health authorities and associations with communities most at risk, but also through vaccination.
Call to step up research on disease and vaccine
Judging “very difficult to maintain risk reduction over time” by changing behavior, Brigitte Autran insisted, during the press briefing, on “complete, as quickly as possible, vaccination of the eligible population”. “If we succeed in vaccinating the individuals most at risk, we can have a huge impact on transmission,” said Simon Cauchemez.
Another line of recommendation: surveillance, in particular by integrating monkey pox in the monitoring of sexually transmitted infections. “Rather than reinventing the wheel, the simplest and most effective is to include it in the surveillance of STIs, for which a very good organization exists”, pleaded Brigitte Autran. But this “should not lead to misunderstanding of other modes of transmission”, warns the Covars.
Last part of recommendations: research on the disease, the vaccine, the treatments, but also the day before in humans and animals. The committee recommends, among other things, adding the mpox virus to the pathogens monitored in wildlife, domestic and wild.
For the general human population, the impact of the epidemic is considered “limited” in all scenarios, due to a low potential for transmission beyond the most exposed categories.
Source: BFM TV