Physicians diagnosing monkeypox should be on the lookout for symptoms that do not quite fit typical descriptions of the disease, the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned (opens in a new tab) June 14.
Monkey pox virus belongs to the same family and genus as the causative virus smallpox and triggers similar but milder symptoms, depending on the CDC (opens in a new tab). At the start of the infection, people usually develop fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. Then the characteristic rashes associated with monkeypox begin to appear. These rashes usually progress through several stages, initially looking like patches of discolored skin, then raised bumps, then blisters, and finally large pus-filled pimples; eventually, these skin lesions scab over and fall off.
Historically, monkeypox rashes tend to erupt around the face and in the oral cavity first, then can progress to the extremities, including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, some of the recent cases of monkeypox in the United States have diverged from this pattern, the CDC reported.
The rashes of many American patients initially appeared around the genitals and anus, as well as the tissues lining the mouth. In some patients, these rashes have caused pain in the anus and rectum, rectal bleeding, painful inflammation of the rectal lining (proctitis), and the feeling of having to have a bowel movement when the bowels are empty ( tenesmus). These symptoms are not included in typical descriptions of monkeypox.
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In some cases, patients’ rashes were either “scattered or localized to a specific body site” outside of the face and extremities, the CDC noted. Rashes in different stages of progression have sometimes appeared side by side at the same location on the body. And the usual flu– as symptoms of fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue “did not always occur before the rash, if at all”.
Similarly, strange presentations of monkeypox have been observed in other countries affected by the current epidemic. “It is now clear that there is an unusual situation, which means that even the virus is behaving in an unusual way compared to the way it behaved in the past,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief executive of the World Health Organization (WHO), during a press briefing. , according BNC News (opens in a new tab).
In general, symptoms of monkeypox infections may resemble those caused by Varicella zoster virus, which causes varicellaand they can also resemble certain sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and herpes, the CDC noted. If a patient appears to have one of these diseases, clinicians should perform a thorough examination of the skin and mucosal tissues, including anal, vaginal, and oral tissues, to rule out monkeypox as a diagnosis.
People who develop potential symptoms of monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider, especially if they meet the following criteria:
- Have traveled to countries where cases of monkeypox have been reported
- Had recent contact with someone who has a similar rash or has been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected monkeypox
- Having had close or intimate in-person contact with people in a social network with monkeypox infections
“Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can contract and spread monkeypox. In this outbreak, however, many reported cases in the United States are in gay, bisexual or other males. having sex with men,” the CDC noted. For this reason, the health agency stressed that men who have sex with men should be aware that the virus can spread within their social networks.
As of June 24, just over 4,100 cases of monkeypox had been detected in 47 countries and territories, according to the CDC (opens in a new tab); this global case count, which is subject to change, includes both confirmed monkeypox infections and infections attributed to a Orthopoxvirus — the kind of virus that includes monkeypox.
In the United States, 201 such cases have been identified in 25 states and the District of Columbia, so far, the CDC reported (opens in a new tab).
Originally posted on Live Science.
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