A team of scientists from Liverpool University Hospitals has found that the monkeypox virus may persist in the body for 10 weeks, even after the rashes have disappeared. The findings of the retrospective study were published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The outcomes of the study are based on an analysis of the UK’s seven previous cases, which were struck down between 2018 and 2021. According to the study, one of the UK’s seven previous cases who caught monkeypox in Nigeria before being hospitalised in the UK still tested positive 76 days after first falling ill, as per reports.
Reportedly, the man was given the all clear and sent home from the hospital a few weeks after being struck down with the virus. However, six weeks later, when he had sex for the first time after his illness, his virus came back, the doctors claimed.
According to the scientists, the man told doctors how his lymph nodes had swollen in size. Moreover, this swelling came with pustular skin lesions, characteristic of monkeypox.
Although the study reported detection of monkeypox virus in blood and throat swabs, lead author Dr. Hugh Adler from the Hospital said they were “surprised” that the virus could linger in the throat and blood “for that length of time”.
“It remains positive in the throat and blood for the length of the illness and maybe even longer after the rash,” Adler stated.
Dr. Adler also cautioned that more research was needed to confirm whether the virus could be transmissible after the hallmark rash has disappeared.
“We don’t, in our paper, see any signal these patients are infectious for longer than the rash persisted. But it is a very notable finding that has not been demonstrated before that changes our understanding of how the disease works,” he added.
The current outbreak of Monkeypox has affected nearly 300 people and spread across more than a dozen countries. While the virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection, which is generally spread through semen and vaginal fluids, the most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among people of GSM community.