Monkeypox: Rare disease explained
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According to the UK Health Security Agency, the new cases which were detected in London and North East England, have no known connections with the previous three infections. Monkeypox is a virus that is usually found in Central and Western Africa and can be transmitted by contact and droplet exposure via exhaled large droplets. According to the global health body, symptoms can be mild or severe and can include lesions that can be very itchy or painful.
At present, the UKHSA has established common contact with two of the four latest infected cases.
The Government health body is also investigating links with the virus as all four of the new cases have self-identified as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men.
In a statement, the WHO said: “Any illness during travel or upon return from an endemic area should be reported to a health professional, including information about all recent travel and immunisation history.
“Residents and travellers to endemic countries should avoid contact with sick animals (dead or alive) that could harbour Monkeypox virus (rodents, marsupials, primates) and should refrain from eating or handling wild game (bushmeat).
“The importance of hand hygiene using soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitiser should be emphasized.
“While a vaccine and specific treatment have recently been approved for Monkeypox, in 2019 and 2022 respectively, these countermeasures are not yet widely available.”
The UKHSA also noted that none of the new cases visited a country where Monkeypox, a virus that kills up to 10 percent of the infected population, is endemic.
In the past month, seven cases in total have been identified, the first of whom had recently returned from Nigeria, where he is believed to have contracted the virus.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UKHSA said: “This is rare and unusual.
“The evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the Monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact.
“We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.”
According to a WHO statement: “Since September 2017, Nigeria has continued to report cases of Monkeypox.
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“From September 2017 to 30 April 2022, a total of 558 suspected cases have been reported from 32 states in the country.
“Of these, 241 were confirmed cases, and among these there were eight deaths recorded (Case Fatality Ratio: 3.3 percent).”
Dr Colin Brown, the UKHSA’s director of clinical and emerging infections, said: While investigations remain ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasise 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 contacting any potential friends, family or contacts in the community.
“We are also working with the NHS to reach any healthcare contacts who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.”
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