Monkeypox symptoms – seven signs to watch out for as the airborne virus has been confirmed in the UK

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) today confirmed that a person who had traveled to the UK from Nigeria had contracted monkeypox and was receiving specialist treatment in London

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What is monkeypox? Everything you need to know

Scientists have confirmed the main symptoms of monkeypox after a case was confirmed in the UK today.

The patient is currently receiving specialist care at a London hospital after contracting the virus, which shares many similarities with smallpox, in Nigeria.

Experts have stressed that human-to-human transmission is rare but said some people who have been in contact with the individual are being contacted as a precaution.

Cases in the UK are rare, with the viral infection – first detected in humans in 1970 – being most widespread in parts of west and central Africa.

In most cases, it causes a mild illness with a fever, usually followed by a rash, which usually appears on the face.

Most people recover within four weeks, medics said today, although in rare cases the virus can cause serious illness.

The first human case of monkeypox was confirmed in 1970


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Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms and a rash that develops into fluid-filled patches

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection with some similarities to smallpox.

It was first discovered in 1958 in a monkey colony in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the first human case being confirmed in 1970.

In most cases, it’s a “mild, self-limiting” illness, and the majority of people recover within a few weeks, experts say.

Today the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed a case had been detected after contracting the virus in Nigeria.

The patient is currently in isolation and being cared for at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s Infectious Diseases Unit in London.

The UKHSA has said the risk of transmission to the general population is low.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox has been shown to kill up to 1 in 10 patients in Africa.

Patients have a fever before the rash breaks out, experts say


Star Tribune via Getty Images)

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Corresponding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are seven main symptoms that can indicate a monkeypox infection.

Many of them resemble smallpox, although swelling of the lymph nodes is an indicator of monkeypox.

These are:

  • Fever
  • headache
  • Muscle cramp
  • back pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion

Within one to three days of the onset of the fever, a patient usually develops a rash, which often begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.

The virus shares many similarities with smallpox but is rarely transmitted between humans, experts believe


(Getty Images)

The CDC says, “In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.

“Monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

“The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.”

How can you get monkeypox?

Scientists believe human-to-human transmission is “very uncommon,” but it can be spread by touch and by droplets.

Experts say the virus is transmitted by infected wild animals — usually rodents — in most cases.

People who are bitten by infected animals or touch their blood, body fluids, spots, blisters, or scabs can become ill.

And it can also be possible to get monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal if it hasn’t been properly cooked.

At least in rare cases where it is spread between people NHS Guidelines state that the main sources of infection are:

  • Touching clothing, sheets, or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox rash
  • Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs
  • the coughing or sneezing of a person with the monkeypox rash

Experts believe that it is transmitted to humans mainly from animals, including rodents


Getty Images/Collection Mix: Themes RF)

The CDC says: “Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets.

“Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few meters, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required.”

Are people close to the patient contacted?

Health chiefs say those who were close to the person with monkeypox are being contacted as a “precautionary measure.”

The UKHSA said in a statement today: “As a precautionary measure, UKHSA experts are working closely with NHS colleagues and will be contacting those who may have been in close contact with the person to provide information and health advice.

“This includes contacting a number of passengers who traveled to the UK on the same flight in close proximity to the patient.

“People without symptoms are not considered contagious, but as a precaution, those who have been in close proximity are being contacted to ensure they can be treated quickly if they are unwell.

“If passengers are not contacted, there is no action they should take.”

The British patient is being cared for by a team of specialists in London


UIG via Getty Images)

What did British experts say today?

British health officials have stressed the need for rest, stressing that monkeypox rarely spreads between people.

The risk to the general public is described as “very low”.

dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA, said: “It is important to stress that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.

“We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) to contact those who were in close contact with the case before their infection was confirmed, to assess them and provide advice where necessary.

“UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious diseases and these are strictly followed.”

Nicholas Price, Director of the NHSE High Consequence Infection Diseases (airborne) Network and Infectious Disease Advisor at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The patient is being treated in our specialist isolation unit at St Thomas’ Hospital by experienced clinical staff using strict procedures for infection prevention.

“This is a good example of how the National High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network and the UKHSA are working closely together to respond quickly and effectively to these sporadic cases.”

Corresponding governance“Prevention of airborne and contact transmission of infection is required. Adequate airway isolation is essential for suspected and confirmed cases.”

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