What is monkeypox virus, what are the symptoms and how did it get to the UK?

·2-min read
What is monkeypox virus, what are the symptoms and how did it get to the UK?

There have been 11 more cases of monkeypox identified in the UK, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed.

Most of the cases are being described as mild.

The new monkeypox cases are additional to the nine previously identified in the UK.

The initial case involved a person who had returned from travel to Nigeria.

The UK government has purchased supplies of smallpox vaccine to protect people from monkeypox.

The disease, which is similar to smallpox, is usually found in central and West Africa, but it does not spread easily between humans and most people recover within a few weeks.

But what exactly is monkeypox and what symptoms should you be aware of? Here's everything you need to know:

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 during an outbreak of pox-like disease in monkeys--which is why it is called monkeypox.

The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and since then the infection has been reported in a number of central and western African countries.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

What are the symptoms?

The illness begins with:

  • fever

  • headache

  • muscle aches

  • backache

  • swollen lymph nodes

  • chills

  • exhaustion

Within 1 to 5 days after getting a fever, a rash develops, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, such as the hands and soles of the feet.

The rash will finally form a scab before falling off.

Is it deadly?

No. Monkeypox is a mild condition which will often resolve on its own and has no known long-term effects on a person's health.

How do you prevent monkeypox?

Generally, the risk of infection unlikely.

Dr Michael Jacobs, clinical director of infection at Royal Free Hospital, said monkeypox "does not spread easily between people and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low."

Still, the best way to avoid infection is to regularly wash hands after caring for sick people.

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