Two other people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK in cases unrelated to the previous infection, health bosses said.
One of the two people – who live in the same household – is being treated in hospital, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.
The cases, confirmed by health bosses on Saturday, are unrelated to the previously confirmed case in England announced on May 7.
Close contacts of the latest two cases are being given health information and advice “as a precaution”, the UKHSA said.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that kills up to one in ten infected people but does not spread easily between people.
The disease was first detected in the UK in 2018 after a traveler brought the virus back from Nigeria and it spread to two other people, including an NHS nurse who caught it in bed linen.
Health bosses said it was important to stress that the overall risk to the general public remains ‘very low’.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that kills up to one in ten infected people but does not spread easily between people (file photo)
One of the latest cases is being cared for at the Infectious Diseases Unit at St Mary’s Hospital (file photo above), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London
One of the latest cases is being cared for at the Infectious Diseases Unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
The other person is in isolation and does not currently require hospitalization, UKHSA said.
Health officials added they were investigating where and how the couple contracted their infection.
The case announced earlier this month involved a person who had recently traveled from Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the infection, before traveling to the UK.
Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: ‘We have confirmed two new cases of monkeypox in England which are unrelated to the case announced on May 7.
“Although investigations are underway to determine the source of the infection, it is important to emphasize that it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with a symptomatic infected person. The overall risk to the general public remains very low.
“We are contacting all potential friends, family or contacts in the community. We are also working with the NHS to reach out to all healthcare contacts who have been in close contact with cases before their infection was confirmed, to assess them if necessary and provide advice.
He said the UKHSA and NHS have “well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed”.
Professor Julian Redhead, Medical Director of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: ‘We are caring for a patient in our specialist high consequence infectious disease unit at St Mary’s Hospital.
“All necessary infection control procedures have been followed and we are working closely with UKHSA and NHS England.”
Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion (photo courtesy of UKHSA)
Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.
A rash may develop, which changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
The first case of monkeypox in a human was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has since been detected in a number of countries in Central and West Africa.
Most cases are reported in DRC and Nigeria.
In 2003, the disease was detected in the United States when an epidemic broke out following the importation of rodents from Africa.
The first cases were detected in the UK in 2018, when three people contracted the virus after a man returned from Nigeria, including an NHS nurse caring for a patient and blamed her PPE.
The incident meant more than 50 people were warned they had been exposed to the potentially deadly virus, but no further cases were recorded from this outbreak.
Another case was detected in London in December 2019 and two more cases were detected in North Wales in 2021. All cases are thought to have been detected by travelers who have been to Nigeria.
What is Monkeypox virus and what are the risks and symptoms?
Monkeypox – often caught while handling monkeys – is a rare viral disease that kills around 10% of people it strikes, according to figures.
The virus responsible for the disease is mainly found in tropical areas of West and Central Africa.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, with the first human case reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Human cases were first recorded in the United States in 2003 and in the United Kingdom in September 2018.
It resides in wild animals, but humans can catch it through direct contact with animals, such as by handling monkeys or eating undercooked meat.
The virus can enter the body through damaged skin, the respiratory tract or the eyes, nose or mouth.
It can pass between humans via droplets in the air and by touching the skin of an infected individual or by touching objects contaminated with them.
Symptoms usually appear within five and 21 days of infection. These include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue.
The most obvious symptom is a rash, which usually appears on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. This then forms skin lesions that scab over and fall off.
Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering within weeks without treatment. However, the disease can often prove fatal.
According to the World Health Organization, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for monkeypox infection.
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