Rare case of monkeypox confirmed in England

·2-min read
In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the first known cases of monkeypox are shown  (Getty Images)
In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the first known cases of monkeypox are shown (Getty Images)

A person in England has been diagnosed with monkeypox, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.

The patient had recently travelled from Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the infection, before travelling to the UK.

The person is receiving care at the expert infectious disease unit at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are monitoring the case and working closely with NHS colleagues to contact people who might have been in close contact with the individual.

Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, said: “It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.

“We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) to contact the individuals who have had close contact with the case prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.”

“UKHSA and the NHS have well-established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people but can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person.

The disease, which is similar to smallpox, is usually found in central and West Africa.

It was first discovered in 1958 during an outbreak of pox-like disease in monkeys.

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.

Symptoms include fever, a headache, muscle aches, backache and exhaustion.

Within one to five 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.

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

Dr Nicholas Price, director NHSEI high consequence infection diseases (airborne) network and consultant in infectious diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The patient is being treated in our specialist isolation unit at St Thomas’ Hospital by expert clinical staff with strict infection prevention procedures.

“This is a good example of the way that the high consequence infectious diseases national network and UKHSA work closely together in responding swiftly and effectively to these sporadic cases.”