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France confirms 33 cases of monkeypox virus

Health authorities have called for ‘continuous monitoring’ of the spread. Vaccinations are now recommended for adults who have been in contact with anyone infected

A test tube of blood labelled with “monkeypox” with a French flag background

There are now 33 confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus in France Pic: Morrowind / Shutterstock

The monkeypox situation is “evolving very rapidly” in France with 33 cases now confirmed, health body Santé publique France (SPF) has said.

In its latest report, published on June 2, SPF called for “continuous monitoring” of the spread of the virus.

Of these, 24 cases were reported in Ile-de-France, two in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, four in Occitanie, and one apiece in Hauts-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire, and Normandy.

In its previous report on the virus at the end of May, SPF reported 16 confirmed cases.

Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said last week that authorities were not expecting a major “outbreak” of the disease, and that the country had sufficient stocks of smallpox vaccine (which is effective against monkeypox) for contact cases and at-risk people.

On May 24, health authority la Haute Autorité de santé (HAS) recommended that adults, including health professionals, who have had contact with an infected person, should be vaccinated.

There is not a monkeypox-specific vaccine, but studies have shown that smallpox vaccines offer 85% protection and less-severe symptoms in those who do go on to contract the illness, the World Health Organisation has said.

But while the vaccine helped to contribute to the eradication of smallpox in 1984, it can sometimes cause severe side effects, and is not recommended for immunosuppressed people or pregnant women.

On May 29, the WHO said that monkeypox poses a “moderate” risk to global public health. The illness is usually only seen in certain small regions of Africa since 1970.

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