Characteristics of confirmed mpox cases among clinical suspects: a prospective single-centre study in Belgium during the 2022 outbreak

ITM mpox study groupc

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BACKGROUND: The presentation of mpox clade IIb during the 2022 outbreak overlaps with a range of other diseases. Understanding the factors associated with mpox is important for clinical decision making.

METHODS: We described the characteristics of mpox patients who sought care at Belgian sexual health clinic. Furthermore we compared their characteristics to those of patients with a clinical suspicion of mpox but who tested negative on polymerase chain reaction.

RESULTS: Between May 23 and September 20, 2022, 155 patients were diagnosed with mpox, and 51 patients with suspected symptoms tested negative. All mpox patients self-identified as men and 148/155 (95.5%) as gay or bisexual MSM. Systemic symptoms were present in 116/155 (74.8%) patients. All but 10 patients (145/155, 93.5%) presented with skin lesions. Other manifestations were lymphadenopathy (72/155, 46.5%), proctitis (50/155, 32.3%), urethritis (12/155, 7.7%), tonsillitis (2/155, 1.3%). Complications involved bacterial skin infection (13/155, 8.4%) and penile oedema with or without paraphimosis (4/155, 2.6%). In multivariable logistic regression models, the presence of lymphadenopathy (OR 3.79 95% CI 1.44-11.49), skin lesions (OR 4.35 95% CI 1.15-17.57) and proctitis (OR 9.41 95% CI 2.72-47.07) were associated with the diagnosis of mpox. There were no associations with age, HIV status, childhood smallpox vaccination, number of sexual partners and international travel.

CONCLUSIONS: The presence of proctitis, lymphadenopathies and skin lesions should increase clinical suspicion of mpox in patients with compatible symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Microbes and New Infections
Pages (from-to)101093
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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