Monkeypox could cause heart problems in patients just days after infection, experts warn

PEOPLE who catch monkeypox are at risk of developing fatal heart disease soon after contracting the virus, medics said.

It comes after a 31-year-old man with the bug developed myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart – just a week after his viral symptoms began.

The unnamed man arrived at the hospital with chest tightness "radiated through the left arm".


The unnamed man arrived at the hospital with chest tightness that “radiated down his left arm.”Photo credit: Getty – Contributor

While most people with myocarditis recover without complications, in rare cases, severe inflammation can cause heart damage and even death.

The unnamed man arrived at the hospital with chest tightness that “radiated through his left arm,” medics said.

This was just three days after he visited a clinic where he developed typical monkeypox symptoms, including body aches, fever and multiple swollen lesions on his face, hands and genitals.

The patient was soon admitted to the intensive care unit, where he received treatment before making a full recovery after just a week.

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His case was described by doctors in the medical journal JACC: Case reports.

The authors said more research is needed to find out the relationship between monkeypox and heart injury.

Ana Isabel Pinho, Head of Cardiology at the University of São João Hospital Center in Portugal and lead author of the study, said: “We believe that the publication of this potential causal relationship increases the awareness of the scientific community and healthcare professionals of acute myocarditis as a possible complication may be associated with monkeypox,” she said.

“It might also be helpful to closely monitor affected patients to detect further complications in the future,” Ana said.

What are the signs and symptoms of myocarditis?

The main symptoms to look out for, according to the British Heart Foundation and the Mayo Clinic, are:

  1. A sharp pain and/or tightness in the chest that can spread throughout the body
  2. Flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, tiredness and exhaustion
  3. Fluid retention with swelling in your legs, ankles and feet
  4. Shortness of breath with light exercise or walking
  5. Difficulty breathing at rest
  6. Palpitations or an abnormal heart rhythm

Experts had previously discovered that there was a small link between heart disease and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The new study linking monkeypox to heart disease is a new and potentially deadlier strain of monkeypox discovered in the UK.

There are now at least 3,279 known cases of the bug in the country.

Officials recorded an average of 10 new infections a day in the UK last week, up from 21 the week before.

Some sexual health clinics in England have run out of monkeypox vaccines, leading to a major halt to the vaccination programme.

The UKHSA said it had given 50,000 doses to clinics and hospitals that provide the vaccines.

This is “the maximum amount currently available,” he added.

Clinics were told they would not receive any more vaccines until sometime this month.

Last month, a man in Italy became the first person in the world to test positive for monkeypox, coronavirus and HIV at the same time. Monkeypox could cause heart problems in patients just days after infection, experts warn

Sarah Y. Kim

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