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First ever UK case of monkey pox in Cornwall

First ever UK case of monkey pox in Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:30pm 8th September 2018. (Updated at 7:26am 9th September 2018)

The first ever UK case of monkey pox has been confirmed in Cornwall.

Health officials say the rare disease is very difficult to contract - and most people recover within weeks.

Public Health England says the patient is a resident of Nigeria, who had been visiting a naval base in the Duchy.

It is believed they contracted the infection abroad. They have now been transferred to the infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

monkey pox rash
One of the symptoms of monkey pox is a blistering rash that can spread across the body

A spokesperson for Public Health England said that, as a precaution, they are contacting people who came into close contact with the patient.

This includes contacting a number of passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK. 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. If passengers are not contacted then there is no action they should take.

Dr Michael Jacobs, clinical director of infection at the Royal Free Hospital, 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 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 hospital to protect our staff and patients.

macaque monkey
The disease was first discovered in monkeys in the 50s - and in humans in the 70s

What do we know about monkey pox?

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.

Some people, however, can become seriously ill. Up to one in ten of those infected in Africa have died, according to studies.

There is currently no approved treatment for monkey pox, although health officials say the small pox vaccine is assumed to give some immunity against the disease.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service at PHE, said:

It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.

Public Health England is following up those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.

PHE and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission.


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