Africa-Press – Gambia. UNITED KINGDOM: British monkeypox patients are exhibiting symptoms that differ from previous outbreaks, the first study examining UK cases said, leading researchers to call for the definition of the disease to be updated.
Until a few months ago, monkeypox had been largely confined to West and Central Africa, where new outbreaks were mostly caused by humans being infected with the virus by animals like rodents.
But since May, more than 3,400 cases have been recorded worldwide, the large majority of them in Western Europe among men who have sex with men and have no known links to the sub-Saharan African cases.
Britain detected some of the earliest new global cases and the first study into patients there was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal yesterday.
The researchers analysed 54 monkeypox patients in London, all men who have sex with men, who represented 60% of UK cases as of 26 May.
All but two were unaware they had been in contact with someone who had monkeypox.
A quarter of the men were HIV-positive and a quarter had a sexually transmitted disease while they had monkeypox. All patients had skin lesions, of which 94% were in the lower body.
These factors suggest that the virus is being transmitted during skin-to-skin contact as during sex, the study said.
The World Health Organisation is investigating cases of semen testing positive for monkeypox, but has maintained that the virus is not sexually transmitted and is primarily spread through close contact.
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