New monkeypox symptoms identified as UK cases reach over 2,000

New monkeypox symptoms identified as UK cases reach over 2,000

There is a global shortage of vaccines and treatments for monkeypox, so being able to identify it and stop the spread is crucial (Photo: AP/Reuters)

Researchers have found that some people with monkeypox don’t have typical symptoms and their illness may look more like a typical STI.

A study of people recently diagnosed indicates that “many” infected people have only single genital lesions, or they have sores in their mouths or anus.

Standard symptoms of monkeypox include sores and scabs all over the body.

But research led by Queen Mary University of London said expecting to see this could be a problem because the disease may not be identified immediately, even by doctors.

“In some people, anal and oral symptoms have led to people being hospitalized to manage pain and difficulty swallowing,” they said.

“That’s why it’s so important that these new clinical symptoms are recognized and that healthcare professionals are trained in how to identify and manage the disease – misdiagnosis can slow detection and thus hamper efforts to control the spread of the virus.”

There have been 2,050 confirmed cases of monkeypox across England so far, with the majority based in London.

People at risk are now eligible to get vaccinated on the NHS, including men who have sex with men, frontline medical staff most at risk of exposure and those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Last weekend, London clinics administered more than 1,000 vaccines.

The new study looked at 528 confirmed infections at 43 sites around the world between April 27 and June 24, 2022.

Currently, the disease disproportionately affects men who have sex with men, with 98% of people in this group.

But the researchers warned that although sex is the most likely way for these patients to catch the virus, it could be transmitted “by any close physical contact via large respiratory droplets and potentially through clothing and other surfaces”. .

They warned that it is very important to be able to correctly identify monkeypox as there is a global shortage of vaccines and treatments.

“Recognizing the disease, tracing contacts and advising people to self-isolate will be key parts of the public health response,” they said.

Professor Chloe Orkin, who led the study, said: ‘Viruses know no borders and monkeypox infections have now been described in 70 countries and in over 13,000 people.

A healthcare worker prepares to administer a vaccine to a person for the prevention of monkeypox

Those most at risk can now get vaccinated on the NHS (Picture: Getty)

“We have shown that current international case definitions need to be expanded to add symptoms that are not currently included, such as sores in the mouth, on the anal mucosa and simple ulcers.

“These particular symptoms can be serious and have led to hospitalizations, so getting a diagnosis is important. Broadening the case definition will help doctors more easily recognize the infection and thus prevent people from passing it on.

Dr John Thornhill, who treats sexual health issues and is the study’s first author, said: “While we expected various skin problems and rashes, we also found that one in ten people had only one skin lesion in the genital area, and 15% had anal and/or rectal pain.

“These different presentations pointing out that monkeypox infections could be missed or easily confused with common sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis or herpes. We therefore suggest expanding the current case definitions.

“We also found the monkeypox virus in a large proportion of semen samples tested from people with monkeypox. However, it may be incidental as we do not know if it is present at high enough levels to facilitate sexual transmission. More work is needed to better understand this.

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