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Abstract

Background

Locally-acquired mpox cases were rarely reported outside Africa until May 2022, when locally-acquired-mpox cases occurred in various European countries.

Aim

We describe the mpox epidemic in France, including demographic and behavioural changes among a subset of cases, during its course.

Methods

Data were retrieved from the enhanced national surveillance system until 30 September 2022. Laboratory-confirmed cases tested positive for monkeypox virus or orthopoxviruses by PCR; non-laboratory-confirmed cases had clinical symptoms and an epidemiological link to a laboratory-confirmed case. A subset of ≥ 15-year-old male cases, notified until 1 August, was interviewed for epidemiological, clinical and sexual behaviour information. Association of symptom-onset month with quantitative outcomes was evaluated by t- or Wilcoxon tests, and with binary outcomes, by Pearson’s chi-squared or Fisher exact tests.

Results

A total of 4,856 mpox cases were notified, mostly in Île-de-France region (62%; 3,025/4,855). Cases aged ≥ 15 years were predominantly male (97%; 4,668/4,812), with 37 years (range: 15–81) as mean age. Between May and July, among the subset interviewed, mpox cases increased in regions other than Île-de-France, and mean age rose from 35 (range: 21–64) to 38 years (range: 16–75; p = 0.007). Proportions of cases attending men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) meeting venues declined from 60% (55/91) to 46% (164/359; p = 0.012); median number of sexual partners decreased from four (interquartile range (IQR): 1–10) to two (IQR: 1–4; p < 0.001).

Conclusion

Changes in cases’ characteristics during the epidemic, could reflect virus spread from people who were more to less behaviourally vulnerable to mpox between May and July, or MSM reducing numbers of sexual partners as recommended.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.50.2200923
2023-12-14
2024-02-22
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.50.2200923
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