A Nigerian national is being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London after being diagnosed with the rare viral infection named Monkeypox while staying at a naval base in Cornwall. The patient is believed to have contracted the infection in their home country before traveling to the UK.
Facts about Monkeypox
- Monkeypox was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Since then most outbreaks have been in rural regions of the Congo basin and West Africa. In 2003 the first cases outside Africa were confirmed in the US.
- Monkeypox occurs primarily in remote parts of central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- It is similar to human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980. Although monkeypox is much milder, it can be fatal.
- The virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as primates but can spread from human to human.
- The fatality rate is between 1 per cent and 10 per cent.
(Source: World Health Organisation)
Health officials said monkeypox does not spread easily and most patients recover within a few weeks, but it can cause severe illness in some people.The infection can be 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 incubation period is usually from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache, aching muscles, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. A rash can also develop, usually starting on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. It eventually forms a scab that falls off.
Public Hospital England said that, as a precautionary measure, it is working with experts in the NHS to contact a number of people who were on the same flight as the patient. PHE said in a statement: “People without symptoms are not considered infectious but, as a precaution, those who have been in close proximity are being contacted to ensure that if they do become unwell they can be treated quickly.”
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Dr. Michael Jacobs, clinical director of infection at the Royal Free, said: “Monkeypox is, in most cases, a mild condition which will resolve on its own and have no long-term effects on a person’s health. Most people recover within several weeks.
“It is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus and has been reported mainly in central and west African countries. It does not spread easily between people and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low. We are using strict isolation procedures in the hospital to protect our staff and patients.”
Monkeypox occurs primarily in remote parts of central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests. It is similar to human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980. Although monkeypox is much milder, it can be fatal. The virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as primates but can spread from human to human. The fatality rate is between 1 percent and 10 percent.