Background: Before April 2022, monkeypox virus infection in humans was seldom reported outside African regions where it is endemic. Currently, cases are occurring worldwide. Transmission, risk factors, clinical presentation, and outcomes of infection are poorly defined.
Methods: We formed an international collaborative group of clinicians who contributed to an international case series to describe the presentation, clinical course, and outcomes of polymerase-chain-reaction-confirmed monkeypox virus infections.
Results: We report 528 infections diagnosed between April 27 and June 24, 2022, at 43 sites in 16 countries. Overall, 98% of the persons with infection were gay or bisexual men, 75% were White, and 41% had human immunodeficiency virus infection; the median age was 38 years. Transmission was suspected to have occurred through sexual activity in 95% of the persons with infection. In this case series, 95% of the persons presented with a rash (with 64% having ≤10 lesions), 73% had anogenital lesions, and 41% had mucosal lesions (with 54 having a single genital lesion). Common systemic features preceding the rash included fever (62%), lethargy (41%), myalgia (31%), and headache (27%); lymphadenopathy was also common (reported in 56%). Concomitant sexually transmitted infections were reported in 109 of 377 persons (29%) who were tested. Among the 23 persons with a clear exposure history, the median incubation period was 7 days (range, 3 to 20). Monkeypox virus DNA was detected in 29 of the 32 persons in whom seminal fluid was analyzed. Antiviral treatment was given to 5% of the persons overall, and 70 (13%) were hospitalized; the reasons for hospitalization were pain management, mostly for severe anorectal pain (21 persons); soft-tissue superinfection (18); pharyngitis limiting oral intake (5); eye lesions (2); acute kidney injury (2); myocarditis (2); and infection-control purposes (13). No deaths were reported.
Conclusions: In this case series, monkeypox manifested with a variety of dermatologic and systemic clinical findings. The simultaneous identification of cases outside areas where monkeypox has traditionally been endemic highlights the need for rapid identification and diagnosis of cases to contain further community spread.
Copyright © 2022 Massachusetts Medical Society.