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Monkeypox. Infection may last longer than we thought, study suggests

UA group of scientists at the Liverpool Higher School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom says that individuals with severe symptoms of Monkeypox, a rare viral disease similar to smallpox, can remain infected for up to 10 weeks.

This investigation, published in the scientific journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, was based on the analysis of seven cases registered in the United Kingdom between 2018 and 2021. Among these patients, scientists found an individual who tested positive for the disease more than 70 days after show the first symptoms. The man, in his 40s, is said to have been infected in Nigeria and later hospitalized in the UK for 39 days.

However, six weeks after medical discharge, the ulcerative lesions reappeared when the man had sexual intercourse. Investigators report that the individual also has swollen lymph nodes. Given the suspicions, a new test was carried out which proved that the man was still infected. However, the authors of the study indicate that the normal is for the virus to disappear in four weeks.

The Monkeypox virus was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research.

The first human case of infection with Monkeypox virus was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, during a period of redoubled efforts to eradicate smallpox. Since then, several countries in Central and West Africa have reported cases.

Although the disease does not require specific therapy, smallpox vaccine, antivirals and vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG) can be used as prevention and treatment for Monkeypox.

warning signs

Individuals with ulcerative lesions, rash, palpable lymph nodes, possibly accompanied by fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and tiredness, should seek medical advice. The disease can progress to bronchopneumonia, sepsis or encephalitis, or to corneal infection that can lead to loss of vision. Less often, it can even lead to death.

The World Health Organization states that the incubation period for the virus is generally six to 13 days. However, symptoms can manifest up to 21 days after infection by the virus.

If you notice suspicious symptoms, you should refrain from direct physical contact, recommends the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). This is because the disease is transmitted through contact with animals, such as monkeys and rodents (including those that are kept as pets) that may be carriers of Monkeypox. It is also transmitted through close contact with infected people or contaminated materials such as clothing. However, “it usually does not spread easily among human beings”, emphasizes the DGS.

Also Read: WHO says ‘unusual’ Monkeypox outbreak should not worry population

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