New NIHR and MRC funding for UK rare disease research

NHS hospitals collaborate to share monkeypox experiences

Sixteen NHS hospitals have worked together to share their experiences of the clinical features and management of the patients who required treatment during the recent mpox outbreak.

An analysis of 156 patients with the disease admitted to UK hospitals during the summer of 2022 has recently been published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

Since 2018, mpox patients in the UK requiring in-hospital care have been admitted to NHS England’s network of high consequence infectious disease (HCID) treatment centres. When case numbers increased rapidly during the 2022 outbreak, a larger clinical network had to be established following the infection prevention and control measures implemented by specialist infection services.

The trusts involved in the study were Liverpool University Hospitals NFT; Royal Free Hospital; Chelsea and Westminster NFT; Imperial College Healthcare; Leeds Teaching Hospitals; Kings College; Cambridge University Hospital; London North West University Hospitals; Manchester University Hospital, Oxford University FT; Guys’ and Thomas’ NHS FT; Royal Victoria Hospital; The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital; United College of London; Sheffield Teaching Hospitals; St George’s University Hospital; University Hospital Southampton; and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of the project is for the trusts to use their combined findings to gain further understanding of the disease, which in turn will facilitate better healthcare for those affected.

Researchers found that up to one third of patients were people living with HIV, although most had well-controlled HIV infection and were not immunosuppressed. All patients survived their mpox virus infections, but more than half reportedly suffered severe pain and secondary bacterial infection.

Dr Jake Dunning, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the Royal Free Hospital, said of the investigation:  “All the hospitals supported each other and shared knowledge and information in real time. For this study, the hospitals worked quickly to examine their own experiences of managing hospitalised patients with mpox and submit anonymised data from those evaluations for a pooled analysis. This is the culmination of a great collaboration between this network, public health colleagues, and colleagues in sexual health clinics, as we responded to yet another outbreak of an emerging infectious disease.”