Monkeypox: What is this new monkeypox symptom discovered in Italy that affects the eyes?

Doctors in Bergamo have linked monkeypox to an eye infection. A new symptom that must be taken into account according to them.

The monkeypox virus has killed four people outside Africa for the first time in the past week. The WHO has even placed the disease in public health emergency status. After a mutation, the virus, hitherto confined to a few specific regions of Africa, continues to spread and the discoveries continue to surprise specialists. New symptoms are thus regularly described by the various hospital departments around the world.

Discoveries shared on specialized platforms to alert colleagues who could confusing monkeypox with other pathologies.

Officially, the list of main symptoms is as follows:
– Fever
– Headache
– Aches
– Fatigue
– Blister eruption, made up of fluid-filled blisters that progress to drying out, crusting and then scarring.
– Itching.
– Vesicles concentrated more on the face, in the ano-genital area, the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, can be present but also on the trunk and the limbs.
– The mucous membranes are also affected, in the mouth and the genital area.
– The lymph nodes may be swollen and painful, under the jaw, in the neck or in the fold of the groin.
– Sore throats are also reported.

Other recently discovered symptoms

In recent weeks, a few other symptoms have been noted. Thus, wounds in the mucous regions have since been included in the official list. This is not yet the case with the swelling of the penis (due to edema) and rectal pain observed recently.

These days it is Italian clinicians from Bergamo who have brought to light a new symptom affecting the eyes.

Thus, doctors describe, in the journal The Lancet, the case of a “39-year-old bisexual white man who presented to our sexual health clinic with proctitis (inflammation of the lining of the rectum) and a cluster of vesicles (2–3 mm) in the anal region”. The man indicated that he had been taking treatment for the prevention of HIV since 2019 and that he had returned from trips to France and Germany.

A kind of conjunctivitis

But what challenged the doctors is that, 7 days before the appearance of the vesicles, the young man had presented “dorsal myalgia, a suspicion of fever (not measured) and a non-productive cough which resolved in 48 hours”. But above all, “four days later, he developed left eye conjunctivitiswith a small blister on the lower eyelid“.

The vesicle at the corner of the eye was still present several weeks after its appearance.
The Lancet

During his visit to the Bergamo clinic, “the smallest vesicle on the lower eyelid was still present” and had caused “no corneal damage”. A sample from the ocular blisters showed monkeypox DNA positive.

If, “3 weeks after the onset of symptoms, the cutaneous and ocular vesicles were no longer visible and the eye was almost healed”, Italian doctors call on their colleagues, faced with the ongoing monkeypox epidemic, to include “the diagnosis of patients with vesicular and pustular eye lesionsparticularly in the presence of epidemiological links or risk factors”.

Open vaccination in France

As a reminder, faced with the spread of monkeypox, France is offering preventive vaccination to the groups most exposed to the virus.

Thus, since July 11, 2022, in addition to people who have had risky contact with a sick person, people falling within the indications retained by the HAS can make an appointment to be vaccinated throughout the territory:
– Men who have sex with men reporting multiple sex partners.
– Trans people reporting multiple sexual partners.
– Sex workers.
– Professionals working in places of sexual consumption.
– Vaccination can also be considered on a case-by-case basis for health professionals who have to take care of sick people.

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