With the number of monkeypox cases in the UK rising to seven, what is the situation and is it cause for concern?
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral infection commonly found in central and western Africa. Few cases were previously diagnosed in the UK, with the first case recorded in 2018 in a person believed to have contracted the virus in Nigeria.
There are two forms of monkeypox, a milder strain in West Africa, and a more severe strain in Central Africa, or the Congo strain. The newly diagnosed individuals are thought to have the West African ancestry.
According to the UK’s Health Security Agency, early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills, as well as other features such as fatigue.
“The rash can develop, often starting on the face, and then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genitals,” says UKHSA. “The rash changes and goes through different stages, and it can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before eventually forming a crust, which later falls off.”
Most patients recover from monkeypox within a few weeks.
how is he mushroom?
Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans, and it requires close contact. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human-to-human transmission is believed to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets.
“Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” the CDC says. “Other methods of human-to-human transmission include direct contact with body fluids or pest material, and indirect contact with pest material, such as contaminated clothing or linens.”
How many new cases are there in the UK?
The first recent case was reported in the UK on 7 May, with the patient having recently traveled to Nigeria. A week later, two more patients were reported to be receiving treatment for monkeypox in London. They lived in the same house and their injuries were believed to be unrelated to the previous case.
Four more cases of monkeypox were reported on Monday, three in London and one in north-east England. These four cases do not appear to be linked to any of the previous cases, and it is believed that all those involved were infected in London. All four of these cases are of men who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.
Does this mean monkeypox is sexually transmitted?
Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, says the recent cases may be the first time monkeypox has been transmitted despite documented sexual contact, but this has not been confirmed, and in any case it is likely to be the case. Close contact that matters.
“There is no evidence that it is a sexually transmitted virus, like HIV,” Head says. “It is more than that that close contact here during sexual or intimate activity, including prolonged skin-to-skin contact, may be the main factor during transmission.”
The UKHSA advises gay and bisexual men, as well as other communities of men who have sex with men, to look for unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, particularly their genitals. The UKHSA says: “Anyone with concerns that they may have monkeypox is advised to contact clinics before visiting.”
How do Should we be concerned?
At present, the answer seems not to be severe. Experts have suggested that a major outbreak is unlikely, although important contacts of those infected have been identified.
Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s senior medical advisor, describes the situation as ‘rare and unusual’ but adds: ‘UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of this infection because evidence suggests there may be community transmission of monkeypox virus, and contact spread. close”.