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14th May 2022

Monkeypox: Two more people diagnosed in the UK

April Curtin

Via The World Health Organisation

Health officials are now investigating where they picked up the infection

Two more people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK, health officials have confirmed.

The pair live in the same household in London, and are not linked to another person  who was diagnosed with the disease in England earlier this month.

Monkeypox is a virus that stems from west and central Africa, usually spread by wild animals. The person who tested positive for the virus earlier in May had returned from Nigeria with the virus and was being treated at Guy’s Hospital in London, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed at the time.

One of the latest people to be diagnosed is being treated at the expert infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. The other person is isolating and doesn’t need hospital treatment, UKHSA said.

Health officials are now investigating where and how the latest cases were infected. People who could’ve been in close contact with the two people are being contacted and given health advice.

These are the seventh and eighth cases to be identified in the UK.

While the disease does not travel easily between people, it can be passed via contact on clothing or linens, as seen in 2018 when an NHS nurse caught the virus. Direct contact with scabs can also spread the virus, as can inhaling droplets when a person with rash coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, a headache, chills, exhaustion, aches and swollen lymph nodes. Most notably, a rash spreads from the face across the body for around five days.

Recovery usually takes a few weeks after receiving specialist treatment, and the mortality rate is between 1 and 10 per cent, with young people affected the most.

Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, said it is important to remember that infection “does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact” with someone who is symptomatic.

“The overall risk to the general public remains very low,” he said.

“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,” he added.

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