Posted: Updated – 12:48, Mon – August 1, 22
London: People infected with monkeypox during the ongoing global outbreak are showing symptoms not typically associated with the viral infection, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
The findings are based on 197 confirmed cases of monkey pox at an infectious disease center in London, UK, between May and July 2022.
Some of the common symptoms they described include rectal pain and penile swelling (edema), which are different from those described in previous outbreaks, the researchers said.
They recommend that doctors consider monkeypox infection in patients with these symptoms.
According to the researchers, those with confirmed monkeypox infection with extensive penile lesions or severe rectal pain “should be considered for ongoing assessment or clinical treatment.” All 197 participants in the study were men (average age 38), of whom 196 identified as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men.
All patients had lesions on their skin or mucous membranes, usually on the genitals or in the perianal area.
Most (86 percent) of patients reported systemic disease (affecting the whole body). The most common systemic symptoms were fever (62 percent), swollen lymph nodes (58 percent), and muscle aches (32 percent).
In contrast to existing case reports suggesting that systemic symptoms precede skin lesions, 38 percent of patients developed systemic symptoms after the onset of mucocutaneous lesions, while 14 percent presented with lesions without systemic features.
A total of 71 patients reported rectal pain, 33 sore throat and 31 penile edema, while 27 had oral lesions, 22 a single lesion and 9 swollen tonsils.
The researchers noted that solitary lesions and swollen tonsils were not previously known to be typical features of monkeypox infection and could be mistaken for other conditions. Just over a third (36 percent) of participants also had HIV infection, and 32 percent of those screened for sexually transmitted infections had a sexually transmitted infection, they said.
A total of 20 (10 percent) of the participants were hospitalized for treatment of symptoms, most commonly rectal pain and penile swelling. However, no deaths were reported and no patient required intensive hospital care.
Only one participant had recently traveled to an endemic area, confirming continued transmission within the UK, and only a quarter of patients had been in contact with someone with a confirmed monkeypox infection, raising the possibility of transmission from people with no or very few symptoms. was enlarged.
The study authors acknowledge some limitations, such as the observational nature of the findings, the potential variability of clinical record keeping, and the fact that the data is limited to a single center.
However, they said these findings confirm continued unprecedented community transmission of monkeypox virus among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in the UK and many other non-endemic countries.
“Understanding these findings will have major implications for contact tracing, public health advice and ongoing infection control and isolation measures,” the researchers added.