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New Monkeypox Symptoms Found in UK Patients


Recently, Monkeypox patients from the UK exhibited different symptoms from those observed in previous outbreaks, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal.


GS II-Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. About Monkeypox virus
  3. Zoonotic disease
  4. Symptoms and treatment
  5. What did the study find?


  • The researchers also recommended that the UK Health Security Agency should review its current case definitions of monkeypox to better help identify cases.
  • The study looked at 54 patients who attended sexual health clinics in London, the UK and were diagnosed with monkeypox during a 12-day period in May 2022.
  • Researchers observed differences in the symptoms of these cases, as compared to previous monkeypox outbreaks, including the location of skin lesions and a lower prevalence of tiredness and fever.

About Monkeypox virus

  • The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
  • Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
  • While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in a swathe of countries in Central and West Africa, and has on occasion showed up elsewhere.
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.

Zoonotic disease

  • Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
  • According to the WHO, cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus.
  • Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
  • Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited — the longest documented chain of transmission is six generations, meaning the last person to be infected in this chain was six links away from the original sick person, the WHO says.
  • Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.

Symptoms and treatment

  • According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion.
  • It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
  • The WHO underlines that it is important to not confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.
  • The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
  • Usually within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
  • The skin eruption stage can last between 2 and 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up first with a clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
  • According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children.
  • There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet.
  • The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms.
  • Awareness is important for prevention and control of the infection.

What did the study find?

  • The analysis finds that in all 54 cases of monkeypox, the patients were identified as men who have sex with men.
  • A high proportion of cases had skin lesions in their anus or genital regions, suggesting transmission during close skin-to-skin contact, such as sexual activity.
  • The 54 patients observed in this study represent 60 per cent of the cases reported in the UK during the 12-day study period in May 2022.
  • All except two of the patients in the cohort were not aware of having been in contact with a known case and none reported travel to sub-Saharan Africa, however many had recently visited other European countries.

-Source: Indian Express

November 2023