Experts urge clinicians to be on high alert for monkeypox symptoms

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As the novel international monkeypox outbreak continues, disease experts warned clinicians to be on the look-out for the virus’ symptoms in their patients in a new commentary from the John Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The paper was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine and written by Amesh Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Tom Inglesby, MD, director of the John Hopkins Center for Health Security. According to Adalja and Inglesby, the multinational monkeypox outbreak is spreading rapidly. Cases of the virus, which has historically been contained in Africa, have spread to the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands. in an outbreak unlike any other, they said. In turn, the authors strongly urged all clinicians to be on high alert for symptoms of monkeypox in their patients.

The presenting symptoms of monkeypox are a fever and rash. The rash begins in the mouth, then spreads to the face, and finally, to the extremities which include palms of hands and soles of feet, according to the paper. The rash has a distinct centrifugal pattern. Monkeypox, along with smallpox are members of the orthopox viral family, according to the paper. Over the years immunity to smallpox has diminished, a possible contributing factor to why this monkeypox outbreak has spread more rapidly than prior outbreaks. Recent cases are seemingly unlinked to flights from Africa or exposure to an infected exotic pet, which were how past outbreaks originated, according to the paper.

According to the commentary, a significant number of these cases are being diagnosed at sexual transmitted infection (STI) clinics, so the authors warned that those working in STI clinics should be particularly attentive. In addition, the authors said primary care physicians, urgent care physicians, emergency medicine physicians, and dermatologists should familiarize themselves with monkeypox symptoms and be on high alert.