Doctors diagnosing monkeypox should be on the lookout for symptoms that don’t quite match typical descriptions of the disease The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned (opens in new tab) 14th June.
The monkeypox virus belongs to the same family and genus as the causative virus smallpox and triggers similar but milder symptoms CDC (opens in new tab). At the beginning of the infection, people usually develop fever, headache, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. Then the characteristic rashes associated with monkeypox appear. These rashes typically go through several stages and first appear as discolored patches of skin, then raised bumps, then blisters, and finally large pus-filled pimples; eventually these skin lesions crust over and fall off.
Historically, monkeypox rashes tend to first break out on the face and mouth and then spread to the extremities, including the palms of hands and soles of the feet. However, some recent cases of monkeypox in the United States have deviated from this pattern, the CDC reported.
Many US patients’ rashes initially appear around the genitals and anus, as well as around the tissues lining the mouth. In some people, these rashes have caused pain in the anus and rectum, rectal bleeding, painful inflammation of the lining of the rectum (proctitis), and a feeling of having to pass stools when there are empty stools (tenesmus). These symptoms are not included in typical descriptions of monkeypox.
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In some cases, the patients’ rashes were either “scattered or localized to a specific area of the body,” aside from the face and extremities, the CDC noted. Rashes at different stages of progression have sometimes coexisted on the same body site. And the usual flu-Similar symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue “didn’t always precede the rash, if they did at all.”
Similar strange manifestations of monkeypox have been observed in other countries affected by the current outbreak. “It is now clear that there is an unusual situation, which means that even the virus is behaving unusually than it has been behaving in the past,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), at a briefing, accordingly NBC News (opens in new tab).
In general, the symptoms of monkeypox infection can be similar to those caused by smallpox Varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpoxand they can also look like certain sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and herpes, the CDC noted. If a patient appears to have any of these diseases, physicians should perform a thorough examination of the skin and mucosal tissues, including the anal, vaginal, and oral tissues, to rule out monkeypox as a diagnosis.
People who develop potential symptoms of monkeypox should contact their doctor, especially if they meet the following criteria:
- have traveled to countries where cases of monkeypox have been reported
- Have recently been in contact with a person who has a similar skin rash or has had a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of monkeypox
- Had close or intimate personal contact with people on a social network who had monkeypox infection
“Any person, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get and spread monkeypox. However, in this outbreak, many of the reported cases in the United States are in gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men,” the CDC notes. For this reason, the health department has stressed that men who have sex with men should be aware that the virus can spread on their social networks.
As of June 24, just over 4,100 cases of monkeypox have been identified in 47 countries and territories, the CDC (opens in new tab); This global case count, which is subject to change, includes both confirmed monkeypox infections and infections attributed to one orthopox virus – the genus of viruses to which monkeypox belongs.
In the US, 201 such cases have been identified in 25 states and the District of Columbia. reported the CDC (opens in new tab).
Originally published on Live Science.