Monkeypox remains contagious long after scabs have healed, worrying study suggests – World News

A report published this week by The Lancet Infectious Diseases magazine shows that the viral disease can linger in the throat and blood long after the infection on the skin has cleared

A Lancet report states that monkeypox patients could be contagious long after their lesions have healed
A Lancet report states that monkeypox patients could be contagious long after their lesions have healed

As the number of cases of monkeypox in Britain rose to 71 on Tuesday, a report has revealed people affected by the viral disease can actually be contagious long after their scabs and rashes have healed.

A study published by the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases has showered cold water on the theory that monkeypox patients are no longer contagious once their lesions have cleared.

The Lancet report looked at seven people who contracted monkeypox – a close relative of the smallpox virus – in the UK between 2018 and 2021, with all cases linked to Africa.

None of the patients died or required intensive care treatment, but some were hospitalized as a precaution to prevent onward transmission.

Monkeypox sufferers are affected by rashes and lesions on their skin


Centers for Disease Control and)

co-author dr. Hugh Adler, research associate at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: “We can see that the virus remains positive in the throat and blood for the duration of the illness and perhaps even longer after the rash has cleared.

“We don’t know that this means these patients are more infectious or longer infectious, but it does inform us about the biology of the disease.”

co-author Dr. Catherine Houlihan of the UK Health Security Agency and University College London added: “During previous outbreaks of monkeypox, patients were considered contagious until all the lesions had crusted over.

“In these seven UK cases, virus shedding was observed at least three weeks after infection.

“However, data on infectivity remain limited and is an important area for future studies.”

What monkeypox looks like under the microscope


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Experts have also allayed parents’ fears of their children being infected.

dr David Porter, a consultant on pediatric infectious diseases at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, admitted cases were rare in the UK.

He said: “As a parent with a child who could develop a rash, I think parents shouldn’t be concerned at this stage that it’s monkeypox as we see only a very small number of cases.

“And in all previous outbreaks that have occurred outside of Africa in recent years, we’ve seen a very rare number of cases in children, so mostly adults.”

The study also suggests that some antiviral drugs may have the potential to reduce symptoms and shorten a patient’s exposure time.

The analyzed cases represent the first instances of hospital and home transmission outside of Africa and report patient response to the first off-label use of two different antiviral drugs – brincidofovir and tecovirimate (drugs used to fight smallpox) – to to treat the disease.

Monkeypox patients could now be contagious after their rashes and scabs have healed, a report has revealed



The report found little evidence that brincidofovir was of any clinical use, but concluded that further research into the potential of tecovirimate was warranted.

The study did not look at the current outbreak in the UK, with the majority of the 71 cases occurring in the community and a sizeable proportion among gay and bisexual men.

dr Nick Price of Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, a senior author on the paper, added: “To date, monkeypox has been a rare, imported disease in the UK and the NHS High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network has treated all seven of the confirmed cases in UK by 2021.

“Outbreaks outside of Africa are unusual, but in recent days significant outbreaks have been reported in several European countries, including the UK, and beyond around the world.

“Clinical study data is lacking and we are pleased to share some of our collective experiences in treating this previously rare and sporadic condition.”

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