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Amid a sudden surge in monkeypox cases globally, India reported 8 infections and one virus-related death, and with it, several apprehensions were raised regarding the spread and transmission of the virus. Many are wondering what are the symptoms that are commonly seen among the monkeypox patients, whether there are any new symptoms to look for and also, whether a patient can be asymptomatic if he/she contracts the virus. So far, over 20,000 monkeypox cases have been traced from 80 countries. A total of 4 deaths have been reported till now. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a global health emergency owing to the fact that it is spreading faster than usual.

What are the common symptoms for monkeypox?

Most common symptoms for monkeypox infection include fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, myalgia, lack of energy, and lesions.

WHO said, "Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks." 

Are there any new monkeypox symptoms to look out for?

Many patients who are infected with monkeypox are also complaining of symptoms like Rectal pain and penile oedema (painless, non-tender swelling of the penis)

The British Medical Journal last month pointed out though virus has been known since 1958 (the first case in humans came to the fore in 1970), some observation suggests a “new clinical course to the disease", i.e. new symptoms.

“A variable temporal association was observed between mucocutaneous and systemic features, suggesting a new clinical course to the disease. New clinical presentations of monkeypox infection were identified, including rectal pain and penile oedema. These presentations should be included in public health messaging to aid early diagnosis and reduce onward transmission," said the researchers in their conclusion.

Can you be asymptomatic for monkeypox?

Yes, you can be asymptomatic even when you are infected with monkeypox. A recent study found that three men tested positive for monkeypox without showing any symptoms. “All three men denied having had any symptoms in the weeks before and after the sample was taken. None of them reported exposure to a diagnosed monkeypox case, nor did any of their contacts develop clinical monkeypox," the study says.

Dr Monalisa Sahu, Consultant Infectious Diseases, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, told the Times of India, “These patients can have atypical presentation as no rash and no prodromal symptoms. These patients can be asymptomatic during the incubation period which is 5-21 days."

Can it have other health complications?

Dr Sahu further adds that they can on very rare occasions have minor symptoms which may not be evident and go unnoticed, and finally land up in complications like encephalitis

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