A report dissects the success of the DSP of Montreal against monkeypox

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A report dissects the success of the Montreal DSP against monkeypox

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">Monkey pox is an endemic viral disease in regions of central and western Africa.

A new scientific publication, unveiled more earlier this month in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, looks back at how public health managed to quickly put down, last summer in Montreal, the most serious outbreak of monkeypox ever seen in North America.

As of October 18, 2022, there had been 402 cases of monkeypox in the territory of Montreal, mostly in men who had sex with other men. It was strongly suspected that the transmission was linked to sexual contact.

The monkeypox virus seen under a microscope.

In the x27; scientific article titled Monkeypox in Montreal : Epidemiology, Phylogenomics, and Public Health Response to a Large North American Outbreak, researchers from McGill University attribute the success of the operation in particular to the rapid and sustained intervention of the Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) of Montreal with communities at risk, in particular by deploying a effective preventive vaccination campaign.

Dr. Sapha Barkati, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), who coordinated the writing of this report, insists that this success is a team affair. Of particular note is the contribution of clinicians who reported and treated the cases, as well as the public health laboratory which facilitated rapid testing without having to rely on Canada's national microbiology laboratory. The latter was still responsible for the sequencing of the positive samples.

Among the successes associated with the Montreal operation, we emphasize that it is the first jurisdiction to offer a dose of the Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN) vaccine free of charge as a preventive measure as early as June.

According to Dr. Barkati, the DRSP has played a pioneering role in adopting a vaccination strategy targeting not only Montrealers at risk, but also anyone who has close contact with these people, including tourists from passing through the metropolis.

She says that people who came to take part in the international AIDS conference last July took the opportunity to get vaccinated. Reports had also mentioned tourists from New York who were happy to have access to a vaccine in a simpler and faster way than south of the border.

It probably helped a lot, recognizes the specialist in tropical diseases. In public health approaches, it's rarely a single element that leads to success, she continues, but vaccination has certainly played a major role.

However, community reaction to the vaccine supply should not be overlooked, as it is demand that determines the effectiveness of a vaccination campaign.

As of October 18, 23,835 people had received at least one dose of MVA-BN. A significant number when the population at risk is estimated at 32,000 individuals.

Two waves were observed in early June and early July with peaks of 43 and 44 cases per week. There was then a gradual decline until the virtual disappearance of the virus was observed in the territory in October.

Monkey pox is a viral disease of the zoonotic type endemic in the regions of central and western Africa. It is believed that the virus is transmitted by direct contact between people, but also by fomites and droplets. The disease can cause intense pain mainly through rashes that can spread all over the body.

First cases of monkeypox in Western countries began to emerge in May 2022, notably in the United Kingdom. Cases then spread, including in Canada.

This delay between the onset of the epidemic in other western countries and the Montreal outbreak gave local clinicians time to see things coming, believes Dr. Barkati.

Physicians were able to get informed and be on the lookout for quickly report the appearance of the first cases.

While Montreal has been identified as the epicenter of the epidemic in North America, the prompt and effective mobilization public health authorities were able to quickly stem the spread.

For Dr. Sapha Barkati, this demonstration of commitment, collaboration and creativity in the response to an epidemic is a lesson for experts here and a model for health authorities around the world to follow.

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