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Scientists discover patients with severe monkeypox can be contagious for up to 10 WEEKS

SEVERE monkeypox patients can be contagious for up to 10 weeks, scientists fear.

A review of previous patients with the disease found one man tested positive more than 70 days after symptoms first appeared.

Examples of monkeypox lesions published by researchers

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Examples of monkeypox lesions published by researchersPhoto credits: Lancet Infectious Diseases, Elsevier, Prof Hugh Adler
One monkeypox patient studied tested positive for monkeypox in the throat more than 70 days after first showing symptoms

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One monkeypox patient studied tested positive for monkeypox in the throat more than 70 days after first showing symptomsPhoto credits: Lancet Infectious Diseases, Elsevier, Prof Hugh Adler

It comes as cases of the virus reach 71 in the UK and health officials have urged people to watch for symptoms.

Signs of the disease in the early stages are fever, headache, chills, back and muscle pain.

One to five days later, a rash may develop that initially looks like chickenpox before turning into blisters that form scabs.

People can catch the virus from others by touching their scabs or lesions, having close physical contact, touching contaminated objects, or being exposed to respiratory droplets.

I am a GP - monkeypox is not a
The 4 groups with the highest risk of monkeypox were known to have rising cases

Patients are contagious until their scabs fall off, says the UK Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA), and the scab itself can contain viral material.

However, the latest study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggests people can be contagious long after their rash has gone away.

The researchers looked at seven cases of monkeypox in the UK between 2018 and 2021.

One of the patients, an unnamed man in his 40s, contracted monkeypox in Nigeria before being hospitalized in the UK.

He was in hospital for 39 days before doctors said he had recovered and he was sent home.

But six weeks later, when he was having sex for the first time since his illness, the telltale rash of monkeypox returned.

The man also had swollen lymph nodes, which are a sign of infection.

At the hospital, a throat swab showed the man was positive for monkeypox.

The results suggest the man was contagious as he got the rash again.

Study author Dr. Hugh Adler, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “It remains positive in the throat and blood for the duration of the illness and perhaps even longer after the rash has cleared.

“We don’t know that this means these patients are more infectious or longer infectious, but it does inform us about the biology of the disease.”

It’s not clear if the man would have been contagious in the six-week period between discharge from hospital and his “relapse” after sex.

dr Adler said the researchers were “surprised” that monkeypox could be detected in the throat and blood for so long, MailOnline reported.

A relapse like this has not been reported before, the authors of the study wrote.

However, they noted that they “were not aware of any reports of the detection of monkeypox virus in semen”.

Other people in the study were positive on respiratory PCR tests between seven and 17 days.

All made a full recovery and none suffered serious complications.

The World Health Organization says monkeypox symptoms usually start six to 13 days after infection but can range from five to 40 days.

During this so-called incubation period, a person is not contagious.

They are capable of spreading the virus once they show symptoms, including the rash.

Health officials have said until now that monkeypox patients typically had mild illness in the current outbreak.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5416424/severe-monkeypox-patients-infectious-10-weeks/ Scientists discover patients with severe monkeypox can be contagious for up to 10 WEEKS

Sarah Y. Kim

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