- A rare case of monkeypox has been detected in the UK.
- The disease causes pus-filled boils along with flu-like symptoms.
- The UK Health Safety Agency said the risk to public health was “very low”.
Monkeypox, a rare but potentially deadly disease, has been detected in the UK, according to the country’s health officials.
The virus is far less contagious than the virus that causes COVID-19 and can cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled boils that cover the body.
In a statement on Saturday, Britain’s health security agency said it believed the infected person caught the virus while in Nigeria and then traveled to the UK. The agency did not specify the individual’s age or gender.
The agency said the patient was being treated at an infectious disease facility in London, UK. People who may have been in close proximity to the person and who were at risk of infection have been contacted, the agency said.
The UKHSA told Insider on Wednesday there were no further updates on the case.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is “very rare” in the United States. The most recently reported case occurred in Maryland in November 2021, in a person who had traveled to Nigeria.
What is monkeypox and how is it spread?
Monkeypox is caused by the same virus as smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980.
The first case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since then, the majority of cases have been reported in West and Central Africa, including countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, according to the CDC.
Monkeypox has been reported outside of Africa, but is usually linked to international travel or contact with imported animals.
It can be spread when a person comes into contact with an infected human or animal, or with a contaminated surface. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, and mouth. Transmission between people is usually by large respiratory droplets, which usually travel no more than a few feet.
Prolonged face-to-face contact is needed for it to spread between people.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Typically, monkeypox causes a mild illness that lasts two to four weeks. In Africa, where the disease is most common, about 1 in 10 people who catch the virus die from it, according to the CDC.
Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body can then occur within one to three days of the onset of a fever.
The rash begins as flat, red bumps, which form blisters that fill with pus. These boils form a crust and fall off after several days.
It can take between five and 21 days to develop symptoms after catching the virus.
There is currently no proven treatment for monkeypox.
How worried should I be about monkey pox?
“It is important to emphasize that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low,” said Dr. Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA.
Professor Grant McFadden, director of the Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy at Arizona State University, told Insider that the virus is found primarily in rodents in Africa and rarely infects humans.
“American readers shouldn’t worry too much about this, but American medical professionals are watching carefully to ensure that the virus is not introduced to wild rodents in North America, such as prairie dogs. But otherwise, the danger of this virus to people in the United States is relatively minimal,” he said.