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Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans, but which can also be transmitted from human to human.
Since the 1970s, monkeypox has caused several outbreaks in West and Central Africa (endemic regions). Up until May 2022, reported cases in other continents were always limited and have always been associated with travel to affected areas.
Transmission occurs mainly through direct contact - with skin sores (red patches or pimples) or body fluids of a sick person - and through indirect contact (sheets, cloths, etc.). A person infected with the virus who has no symptoms can also be contagious.
See also: How is the virus transmitted?
Anyone can get monkeypox. However, close and prolonged contact is usually required to transmit the virus. It has been observed that the majority of infected people have had sexual activity with a large number of different, new and/or anonymous partners.
See also : Risky practices
Infected people usually have flu-like symptoms (fever, swollen glands) and skin sores (red patches or spots).
See also: What are the symptoms?
People at risk of complications
Pregnant women, young children, elderly people, people with a weakened immune system.
See also: People at risk of complications
Instructions in case of symptoms
Contact a doctor or health centre as soon as possible and follow their instructions. You may be ill and contagious: avoid spreading the disease to others.
See also : What should I do if I have symptoms?
Instructions in case of a positive test
You must avoid spreading the disease to others. The Cantonal Doctor's Office will contact you: according to your symptoms and the position of your lesions and after assessing the risks, specific and adapted recommendations will be given to you, to be followed during the entire period of contagiousness
Avoid engaging in risky practices (multiple new and/or anonymous sexual partners).
See also: Prevention and treatment
Most infections heal spontaneously, so there is usually no need for specific treatment and medication to treat fever and pain is sufficient if necessary.
See also: Prevention and treatment
On 24th August 2022, the Federal Council announced that it had ordered 40'000 doses of vaccine against monkeypox. While waiting to know the number of doses intended for the canton of Geneva, the Directorate General of Health is in the process of organising the vaccination campaign with its field partners, including the HUG and Checkpoint.
See also: Vaccination
Situation (November 2022)
In Switzerland, the first case of monkeypox was detected in Bern on 21st May 2022. On 4th November, 546 cases were laboratory-confirmed in Switzerland (502 on 19th September). At the same date, about 80'000 cases had been diagnosed in the non-endemic zones (about 62'000 on 19th September).
Consult the FOPH data.
Monkeypox is usually a mild disease, but it is not without consequences. The disease is called mild because, in this outbreak, most people recover within a few weeks, without specific treatment and without hospitalisation. It is not benign, however, because more vulnerable people can develop a severe form of the disease, and because infected people can experience severe pain in their sores.
On 23 July 2022, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, declared the global monkeypox epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern".
The virus was named "Monkeypox" in 1958 in Denmark. At that time the virus was still unknown and had only been diagnosed in monkeys. Current knowledge shows that the virus infects various animal species and not mainly monkeys (for example, rodents play an important role in transmission). The disease was first diagnosed in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since its discovery in humans, outbreaks have been rare, with very few patients. For this reason, scientists currently do not have all the answers regarding this virus.
See also :
- Federal office of public health - FOPH
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - ECDC
- Office fédéral de la sécurité alimentaire et des affaires vétérinaires - OSAV | for information about animals, including pets (website in French, German and Italian)