An international monkeypox registry has been set up and dermatologists are being encouraged to submit data on the skin symptoms of the disease and vaccine reactions.
The registry is a collaboration between the International League of Dermatologic Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology, in response to the rapid spread of the infection that has now been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation and many countries.
The ILDS says the registry is an expansion of the COVID-19 Dermatology Registry, which has now become the Dermatology COVID-19, Monkeypox, and Emerging Infections Registry.
“We are encouraging all health professionals that have seen a confirmed case of monkeypox to submit information to the registry at www.aad.org/monkeypoxregistry,” they say
“The goal of this registry is to collect and analyse real-time data on monkeypox to rapidly inform our understanding of monkeypox morphology, treatment response, and vaccines. It is our intent to swiftly disseminate these findings to the dermatology community and front-line healthcare workers.”
“The success of this collaborative effort depends on active participation by our international health care community to obtain accurate and reliable information.
Dr Esther Freeman, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Monkeypox Task Force said submissions to the registry involve filling out a brief online form. Patient identifiers such as name or date of birth will not be collected. All de-identified information is kept strictly confidential and will only be shared with researchers compiling information.
“During this particular outbreak, we’re seeing that the rash may start in the groin, genital region, around the anus, or around and in the mouth or throat — and sometimes stay in the spot that it started instead of spreading,” she said.
“While the monkeypox rash can be mistaken for chickenpox, shingles, or herpes, there are differences between these rashes. A board-certified dermatologist can narrow down which disease is causing the rash by looking at the pattern of the rash and where the rash appears.”
If a dermatologist suspects monkeypox is the cause, they can swab the skin lesion for a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis.
People who have been vaccinated against smallpox may be less likely to develop monkeypox. The vaccine is 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, yet many people have not received it because the last routine smallpox vaccines were given in the United States in 1972 due to the elimination of smallpox.
Dr Freeman said that as with the COVID-19 skin registry, the monkeypox registry will gather data that can improve the identification of a variety of different skin reactions that are associated with the condition.
“People have a large variability in their immune response to the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines, which causes the skin to react differently for each person. We are hoping to gain a similar understanding of monkeypox through this registry,” she said.