Research paper sheds light on those affected by monkeypox who attended sexual health services in England

Graham Robson May 19, 2023

A research paper titled Surveillance of Mpox Cases Attending Sexual Health Services in England (SOMASS): design, implementation, and initial findings from the SOMASS data collection tool, 2022 has been published in the British Medical Journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The paper is a collaborative piece of work between the national STI team at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the British Association of Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) and utilised a bespoke data collection tool to understand the clinical presentation, clinical severity, and epidemiology of those affected by monkeypox (Mpox) who were attending sexual health services in England.

Key findings from the research paper include: 

  • Most individuals within SOMASS were gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), taking PrEP (in line with other UK studies)
  • 46% of individuals reported dermatological lesions as their initial symptom (in line with other studies)
  • Whilst the majority (71%) of cases were clinically mild, 24 out of 276 individuals (9%) within SOMASS were hospitalised (in line with other studies)
  • Association between receptive anal intercourse and proctitis among GBMSM (demonstrated in other studies)
  • Association between receptive anal intercourse and primary perianal lesions among GBMSM (demonstrated in other studies)
  • Real-world example of reactive and collaborative working between front-line sexual health services, clinical professional bodies and UKHSA in the context of an STI outbreak

Hannah Charles, Principal HIV/STI Surveillance & Prevention Scientist at the UKHSA, said “UKHSA continues to work with BASHH (British Association of Sexual Health and HIV), other partners and the public in our mission to eliminate Mpox in the UK.

“Vaccination remains key to reducing the severity of Mpox symptoms and preventing further transmission, and I urge everyone eligible to come forward for their first dose before 16 June and second dose before the end of July, so they have maximum long lasting protection.

“This research highlights the importance of robust, adaptable, and responsive data collection tools in outbreak situations facing sexual health services. These tools are crucial to improve surveillance and strengthen the knowledge base in real-time during the response to an outbreak, to help inform clinical assessment and the diagnosis of patients.”

To see the research paper, CLICK HERE