Two more people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK in cases unrelated to a previous infection.
Two more people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK in cases unrelated to previous infection, health chiefs 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, which are the eighth and ninth confirmed in the UK, are not related to the previously confirmed case in England announced on May 7.
Close contacts of the latest two cases are being offered health information and advice “as a precautionary measure”, the UKHSA said.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that kills one in ten of those infected, but it 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 from bed linen.
Health chiefs said it is important to stress that the overall risk to the general public remains “very low”.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that kills up to 1 in 10 people but does not spread easily from person to person (file photo)
One of the most recent cases is being treated in the infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital (file photo above), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, in London.
One of the latest cases is being treated in the infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, in London.
The other person is isolating and does not currently require hospital treatment, UKHSA said.
Health officials added that they are investigating where and how the couple acquired the infection.
The case announced earlier this month was that of a person with a recent travel history from Nigeria, which is where he is believed to have contracted the infection, before traveling to the UK.
Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, said: “We have confirmed two new cases of monkeypox in England that are unrelated to the case announced on 7 May.
“While investigations are still ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasize that it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with an infected symptomatic person. The overall risk to the general public remains very low.
“We are reaching out to potential friends, family or contacts in the community. We are also working with the NHS to reach out to any healthcare contacts who may have had close contact with the cases prior to their confirmation of infection, to test them as necessary and provide advice.”
He said the 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”.
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 the UKHSA and NHS England.”
Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion (photo provided by UKHSA)
Initial 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 then falls off.
The first case of monkeypox in a human was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has since been detected in several countries in central and western Africa.
Most cases are reported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
In 2003, the disease was detected in the US when an outbreak occurred 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 traveled back from Nigeria, including an NHS nurse who had been caring for a patient and blamed her PPE.
The incident meant that more than 50 people who had been exposed to the potentially deadly virus were warned, however no other cases were recorded from that outbreak.
Another case was detected in London in December 2019 and a further two cases in North Wales in 2021. All cases are believed to have been detected by travelers who had been to Nigeria.
What is monkeypox virus and what are the risks and symptoms?
Monkeypox, often contracted from handling monkeys, is a rare viral disease that kills around 10 percent of the people it strikes, according to figures.
The virus responsible for the disease is found mainly in the tropical areas of West and Central Africa.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, with the first reported human case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970. Human cases were first reported in the US in 2003 and in the UK in September of 2018.
It resides in wild animals, but humans can get it through direct contact with animals, such as handling monkeys or eating undercooked meat.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, or mouth.
It can be passed between humans through droplets in the air and by touching the skin of an infected person or by touching objects contaminated by them.
Symptoms usually appear between five and 21 days after 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 crust over and fall off.
Monkeypox is usually mild, and most patients recover within a few weeks without treatment. However, the disease can often prove fatal.
There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, according to the World Health Organization.