Photo: Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images
The United States has reported 72 cases of monkeypox in 18 states in the past month.which makes the current outbreak of this disease the largest in the country’s history.
That total has grown significantly since the end of May, when only 10 cases were confirmed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance Tuesday on how to identify monkeypox during this outbreak, based on the symptoms doctors have seen so far. Some recent infections have presented differently from previous cases in Africa, where monkeypox is endemic in 11 countries.
Traditionally, people with monkeypox have developed a fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and muscle aches, followed by a rash that begins on the face or mouth and then spreads to other parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet. the feet.
Changes in recent cases of monkeypox
In many recent cases in the US, patients first experienced a rash in the mouth or around the genitals or anus.
And instead of widespread rashes, some patients saw scattered or localized lesions in areas other than the face, hands, or feet.
In some cases, flu-like symptoms developed after the rash, but other people had no flu-like symptoms at all.
The eruption also seems to progress differently than in previous cases.
Monkeypox lesions usually start out flat and then become raised, after which they progress to watery blisters, followed by pus-filled blisters that crust over and fall off.
But the CDC said Tuesday that among recent patients, lesions have appeared at different stages within the same area of the body. Fluid- and pus-filled blisters, for example, can coexist.
In addition, some US patients have reported pain in or around the anus and rectum, rectal bleeding, proctitis (painful swelling of the lining of the rectum), or a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement even though the bowels are empty. None of those symptoms were commonly associated with monkeypox before.
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it also identified a unique pattern of symptoms among recent cases outside of Africa, including rashes limited to certain areas of the body such as the genitals or mouth.
“It is now clear that there is an unusual situation, which means that even the virus is behaving in an unusual way compared to how it used to behave in the past,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing. .
Tedros warned last week that the window to contain the global outbreak may be shrinking, and noted that “the risk of monkeypox becoming established in non-endemic countries is real.”
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