Monkeypox: Blackpool patient is second UK case

Key facts

  • Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests.
  • The monkeypox virus is similar to human smallpox, a disease that has been eradicated in 1980. Although monkeypox is much milder than smallpox, it can be fatal.
  • The monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from various wild animals such as rodents and primates, but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission.
  • Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine available although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well.

The patient is being treated at the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit at Liverpool University Hospital. A second UK patient has been diagnosed with monkeypox, days after the first was discovered. The patient, who tested positive at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, had recently travelled to Nigeria where they are believed to have contracted it, Public Health England said. They are being treated in a specialist unit at Liverpool University Hospital. The first UK case was diagnosed in Cornwall in a patient who had also spent time in Nigeria.

Public Health England said there was no UK link between the patients. The rare viral infection does not spread easily between humans and most people recover within a few weeks. Dr Mike Beadsworth, clinical director of the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit at Liverpool University Hospital, said there was no risk to staff, patients or visitors. “The patient is being cared for on our specialist infectious and tropical diseases unit, by highly trained staff who are experienced in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases.”

What is monkeypox? Monkeypox is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks, however severe illness can occur in some It is a rare disease caused by monkeypox virus, and has been reported mainly in central and west African countries It 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 Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off Source: Public Health England Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the PHE’s National Infection Service, said there was a sustained outbreak of monkeypox in Nigeria in September 2017 and sporadic cases continue to be reported. “It is likely that monkeypox continues to circulate in Nigeria and could, therefore, affect travellers who are returning from this part of the world. However, it is very unusual to see two cases in such a relatively short space of time.” He said PHE was contacting people who may have come into contact with the latest patient.

Further information on World Health Organisation website: Key facts about Monkeypox

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