England reports monkeypox case, believe to be contracted in Nigeria

Desiree Burns
September 11, 2018

The patient is a resident of Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the infection, before travelling to the UK.

The patient first went went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with symptoms, before they tested positive for monkeypox.

The disease, called monkeypox, was diagnosed in a person staying at a naval base in Cornwall, England, according to a statement issued Saturday (Sept. 8) by Public Health England, the United Kingdom health agency investigating the case.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said: "PHE and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported and infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission".

'However, it is very unusual to see two cases in such a relatively short space of time. It is related to smallpox and chickenpox and was first identified in 1958 among laboratory monkeys.

Monkeypox typically occurs when a person comes to contact with an animal, usually a rodent; or a human that is infected with the virus.

Experts at PHE report that while monkeypox can be passed on, the disease does not spread easily, and that the risk of infection to the general population is "very low".

Symptoms usually appear about two weeks after a person is exposed to monkeypox. Soon after, patients develop a "pox" rash, with lesions that often appear over the face and trunk. This then forms skin lesions that scab and fall off.

But experts emphasized that, despite its relation to the notoriously deadly smallpox, monkeypox is actually a very mild illness, and it doesn't spread easily between people.

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'We are working hard to contact individuals, including healthcare workers, that might have come into contact with the individual to provide information and health advice'.

The Royal Free Hospital's Clinical Director of Infection, Dr Michael Jacobs, said: "Monkeypox is, in most cases, a mild condition which will resolve on its own and have no long-term effects on a person's health".

Authorities say the general public is not at risk of getting the rare infection, but they are taking every precaution to quarantine the patient.

Although monkeypox and smallpox have similar symptoms, monkeypox is less deadly than smallpox: In previous outbreaks, the fatality rate for monkeypox has been between 1 percent and 10 percent, World Health Organization said.

Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in 10 African countries, according to the WHO.

Initial symptoms include "fever, headache, aching muscles, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion", says the i news site.

It can pass between humans via droplets in the air, and by touching the skin of an infected individual, or touching objects contaminated by them.

Most people who contract the disease recover within a few weeks, but in up to 10 per cent of cases it is fatal.

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