CDC director: Monkeypox can be difficult to diagnose

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said clinicians should not rule out a diagnosis of monkeypox if a patient has a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

“It’s important to be aware that cases of monkeypox can resemble certain sexually transmitted infections and can be confused with other diagnoses,” she said on a media call. “Health care providers should not rule out monkeypox just because a patient has another diagnosis or another STI.”

Walensky said some of the 45 confirmed patients in the United States were also diagnosed with herpes, gonorrhea or chlamydia at the same time as the diagnosis of monkeypox. The CDC also said that of those 45 people, at least 75% had traveled abroad before contracting the disease.

Only a small number of patients do not know where they contracted the poxvirus.

“In all likelihood they acquired it from someone who recently travelled, but they’re just not sure,” said Jennifer McQuiston, DVM, deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens. and pathology at the CDC.

CDC emphasizes close contact

The CDC, in a statement to the media yesterday, also offered clarity on the transmission of monkeypox, virtually ruling out airborne transmission and instead emphasizing close and sustained personal contact, such as sustained skin-to-skin contact. during sexual activities.

“In the current monkeypox outbreak, we know that people with the disease typically describe close and sustained physical contact with others infected with the virus. We continue to investigate other possible modes of transmission, such as by semen,” the CDC said.

“Although we don’t know for certain what role direct physical contact plays versus the role of respiratory secretions, in cases where people with monkeypox have traveled by air, no known cases of monkeypox have occurred in people around them, even on long international flights.”

The CDC recommends people confirmed to have monkeypox wear a properly fitting mask if they will be around other people at home or in a health care setting.

The agency also said it was uncertain whether the disease is spread through contact with people who are infected with monkeypox but show no symptoms.

UK reports 43 more cases

In global news, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said a further 43 cases had been confirmed in the UK, bringing its outbreak total to 366.

The agency also released its first technical report on the outbreak in the country, noting that 81% of UK monkeypox patients were London residents and 99% were male. The median age of confirmed cases in Britain is 38. A total of 152 patients responded to detailed questionnaires, which showed that 151 of them (99.3%) are men who have had sex with men.

Seventy-five of the 152 patients (49.3%) reported having recently traveled abroad before contracting monkeypox.

In addition, Poland has recorded its first case and has 10 suspected cases. The confirmed monkeypox patient is not a Polish citizen.

Ghana has also confirmed 5 cases of monkeypox. According to the World Health Organization, Ghana had previously detected monkeypox in animals, but had previously recorded no cases in humans. One of the patients had recently traveled to the United States.

There are currently over 1,400 cases of monkeypox in 30 non-endemic countries.

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