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Viral dynamics in patients with monkeypox infection: a prospective cohort study in Spain.

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Background: Monkeypox DNA has been detected in skin lesions, saliva, oropharynx, urine, semen, and stool of patients infected during the 2022 clade IIb outbreak; however, the viral dynamics within these compartments remain unknown. We aimed to characterise the viral load kinetics over time in various parts of the body.

Methods: This was an observational, prospective, multicentre study of outpatients diagnosed with monkeypox in two hospitals and two sexual health clinics in Spain between June 28, 2022, and Sept 22, 2022. Men and women aged over 18 years were eligible if they reported having symptom onset within the previous 10 days of presentation, and were ineligible if disease was severe enough to be admitted to hospital. Samples were collected from five body locations (skin lesions, oropharynx, rectum, semen or vagina, and a dried blood spot) at six time points up to 57 days after the screening visit. Samples were analysed by quantitative PCR and a subset by cell culture. The primary endpoint was time from symptom onset to viral DNA clearance.

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