Monkeypox: rare case reported in England, says UKHSA

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people, the agency said, calling the overall risk to the general public “very low”.

“Infection can spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however, there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population,” the statement read.

The patient is believed to have contracted the infection in Nigeria, the UKHSA said, before recently traveling to the UK. He or she is receiving treatment in London at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist infectious disease and isolation unit.

CDC investigates Dallas smallpox case in traveler from Nigeria

According to the UKHSA, early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

The UKHSA said it would contact people “who may be in close contact with the individual to provide health information and advice” as a precautionary measure.

Monkeypox is a relative of smallpox, which was eradicated in 1979 but is less transmissible and less deadly. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The main difference between smallpox and smallpox symptoms is that smallpox causes the lymph nodes to swell, whereas smallpox does not.”

Rodents, including animals kept as pets, and monkeys can transmit smallpox from monkeys and pass it on to people. The CDC investigated a case in a traveler to Dallas last year.

Forty-seven people in the US were infected with the virus in 2003 in an outbreak attributed to a shipment of small mammals from Ghana sold as pets. There was a minor outbreak in Britain in 2018.

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