Smallpox: how long can the disease last?

Smallpox: how long can the disease last?


While smallpox continues to spread in France and several European countries, we now know a little more about the duration of the disease and how it is transmitted.

Monkey pox is beginning to cause concern. More than 200 infections with this type of smallpox have been confirmed in several European countries, including Spain, Portugal and France, where at least 7 “proven” cases have been reported, according to the last Friday census.

The European Union, in turn, is preparing group purchases of smallpox vaccines.

But if the spread of the disease, still limited to Africa, begins to destroy ghosts, the first health measures will begin, as will research into how it will spread.

Incubation period 5 to 21 days

In a press release, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) describes monkeypox as an “unusual phenomenon”. Unlike Covid-19, where the incubation period is five days, monkey pox can range from five to twenty-one days, according to initial analyzes.

“The infection starts with fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The disease also causes lymph nodes. Adenopathies (neck, face …) are bulky. A person is contagious as soon as the first symptoms appear, ”explains DGS.

After the appearance of the so-called “visible” symptoms, pimples and pustules also appear in the following days.

“Within one to three days (sometimes longer) of the onset of the fever, the patient develops a rash that often begins on the face and can then spread to other parts of the body, including the palms. feet and genitals (…) The skin is affected by a single pressure.

The lesions go through different successive stages (macula, papules, vesicles, pustules, then crusts) and develop in a uniform way, “DGS states in its press release. At the end of this period, the scabs fall off, which means the end of the patient’s infectivity. Smallpox usually lasts two to three weeks.

Transmission in several ways

Smallpox, also called Monkeypox, can be transmitted in a variety of ways. Transmission occurs first when a person comes into contact with an animal (especially rodents).

“The virus enters the body through skin lesions (even invisible ones), the respiratory tract or mucous membranes. Transmission from animals to humans can occur by biting or scratching, meat preparation, direct or indirect contact with body fluids or lesion material, ”says the Directorate-General for Health.

However, the virus can also be transmitted by humans or contaminated materials through respiratory droplets after prolonged personal contact with an infected person. The drops generally cannot exceed more than a few meters.

“Other modes of human-to-human transmission include direct skin contact with body fluids or lesions and indirect contact with the lesion, for example through contaminated clothing, laundry or dishes,” he added.

This Thursday, 26 May, European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker said the European Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA) was “working with Member States and manufacturers to obtain vaccines and treat smallpox.”



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