The viral DNA can be detected frequently in different clinical specimens from patients infected with monkeypox, including saliva there spermaccording to a new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). The book, published in the journal Eurosurveillancecontributes to a better understanding of how is this emerging disease transmitted.
Viral DNA can frequently be detected in different clinical specimens from monkeypox infected patients, such as saliva and semen.
The current monkeypox epidemic represents another zoonotic disease who has crossed borders. Over the past six months, there have been reports over 9,000 cases of monkeypox worldwide, in countries where the disease is not endemic.
The first cases were detected in Great Britain, Portugal and Spain, mainly in men who have sex with each other. However, the disease has spread to many other countries and there are fears that it could spread to vulnerable population groups, such as immunocompromised patients or children.
Solve the unknowns about the virus
It is known that the disease is transmitted by direct contact with the lesions of an infected patient or by surfaces contaminated by them, but little is known about the possible presence of viruses in other biological sampleslike saliva, urinates semen.
In this study, the team led by Michael MartinezISGlobal researcher, and Joseph Louis Blanc, from Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, investigated the presence of viral genetic material in different biological samples, taken at different times, from 12 patients with confirmed monkeypox infection. At diagnosis, a high viral DNA load was detected in the skin lesions of all patients.
The disease is known to be transmitted by direct contact with the lesions of an infected patient or by surfaces contaminated by them, but little is known about the possible presence of virus in other biological samples.
Additionally, DNA was detected in the saliva of all patients, some of whom had high viral loads. Only one previous study had tested saliva, in a single patient. Viral DNA was also detected in rectal (11/12 patients), nasopharyngeal (10/12 patients), semen (7/9 patients), urine (9/12 patients) and fecal (8/12 patients) samples. 12 patients).
The contribution of the new study
“A few previous studies had already shown the occasional presence of viral DNA in some samples and in some patients, but in this study we show the frequent presence of Viral DNA in various biological fluidsespecially in the saliva, during the acute phase of the disease, and up to 16 days after the onset of symptoms in a patient”, explains Aida PeiroISGlobal researcher and first author of the study.
The presence of viral DNA does not necessarily equate to the presence of infectious virus and the next step will be to try to isolate infectious virus from these samples.
The authors point out that the presence of viral DNA does not necessarily equate to the presence of infectious virus, and that the next step will be to try to isolate the virus from these samples. However, the high load detected in saliva or semen suggests that these fluids have infectious potential, they add.
“The results of our study contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms and dynamics of virus transmission, as well as the possible role of sexual transmission,” concludes Martínez.
Peiró-Mestres Aida, Fuertes Irene, Camprubí-Ferrer Daniel, Marcos María Ángeles, Vilella Anna, Navarro Mireia, Rodriguez-Elena Laura, Riera Josep, Català Alba, Martínez Miguel J, Blanco Jose L, on behalf of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona Monkeypox Study Group. Frequent detection of monkeypox virus DNA in saliva, semen and other clinical samples from 12 patients, Barcelona, Spain, May to June 2022. Euro Surveill. 2022; 27 (28): pii = 2200503.
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