New monkeypox advice for pregnant women in the UK

Women who test positive for monkeypox in the UK should have a caesarean section and be isolated from their newborn children, according to the latest advice. There have now been more than 300 cases of the once-rare tropical disease in the UK.

The new guidelines also recommend infected women avoid breastfeeding as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health warn the virus is more severe in children.

New advice published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, reads: “The virus can be transmitted via contact with open monkeypox lesions. Given that infants appear to be at the greatest risk of severe monkeypox infection, if lesions are identified, a Caesarean section should be recommended.

“Even if genital lesions cannot be identified in a woman with confirmed or likely monkeypox infection, Caesarean section should be offered.”

The advice adds that babies who test negative for monkeypox should be isolated from their mothers, reports the Mail.

Dr Edward Morris, president of RCOG, said: “The World Health Organisation states there could be adverse consequences for pregnant women and babies if they become infected including congenital monkeypox, miscarriage or stillbirth, which is why we have provided clear guidance for healthcare professionals in this paper.

“We are aware infants and children are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they do catch monkeypox. Therefore to minimise the risk of a baby contracting the virus, we recommend healthcare professionals discuss the benefits and risks of having a caesarean birth with a pregnant woman or person who has or is suspected of having the virus.”

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