The first British monkeypox, a disease that has been spreading around the world since spring, showed symptoms different from those found in African countries where the condition was previously limited, according to a study published on Saturday.

While a fever attack was considered almost systematic in monkeypox, just over half of patients studied in the UK had it, notes this study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, according to AFP.

Carried out on approximately fifty patients, this study, still limited, is one of the first to characterize the clinical specificity of the current monkeypox epidemic, notes.

This disease was previously limited to ten African countries. But in recent months many cases, more than 3,000 according to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO), have been registered in Europe and the Americas.

The United Kingdom is one of the first countries to report cases this year, hence the interest in this study based on observations made in late May, when only one hundred British patients were registered.

The sample therefore corresponds to more than half of the patients known in the country at that time. And, among them, the smallpox of the monkeys manifested itself differently from what was known in Africa. Not only are fever attacks less frequent, but they also seem much shorter and require much fewer hospitalizations.

As for the typical lesions of the disease, they are most often concentrated around the genitals. In previous cases, they were generally larger, reaching, for example, the face or the nape of the neck.

For the study’s authors, this specificity suggests that the first British cases became infected through contact during sexual intercourse. This hypothesis, which must be clearly distinguished from the idea that the disease was sexually transmitted, corresponds to the well-established notion that infection is possible by touching a skin lesion in another patient.

Most European and American cases have so far been reported in men who have had homosexual relationships, but are not the only ones targeted.

More broadly, the study authors believe that their observations argue for broadening the definition of the disease to better detect new cases, without insisting, for example, so much on a fever.

These different symptoms do not mean that the current epidemic is due to a new version of the virus, as other researchers point out.

“There are no major genetic changes” in the viruses sequenced in current patients, pulmonologist Hugh Adler told AFP. He claims that in Africa, many cases, without fever or with limited lesions, may have gone undetected.

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