First ever case of monkeypox confirmed in Britain

The Nigerian patient was transferred to the Royal Free in London

Image The Nigerian patient was transferred to the Royal Free in London

"It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low", said Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE.

Monkeypox was first recorded in 1958, when outbreaks of pox-like diseases occurred in laboratory monkeys that were kept for research, hence the name.

PHE and the NHS are contacting individuals who may have been in close contact with the patient, as monkeypox can be spread by human-to-human contact, the Daily Express reports.

'It is a rare disease caused by monkeypox virus, and has been reported mainly in central and west African countries.

Since then, the majority of cases have been reported in rural areas of the Congo and western Africa.

Public Health England (PHE) said the patient was a resident of Nigeria where the virus was probably contracted.

There was an outbreak in Nigeria in 2017, with 172 suspected and 61 confirmed cases between September and December.

Monkeypox, which causes chickenpox-like lesions, is fatal in up to 10 per cent of cases.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) website: "Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe". In contrast, smallpox had a fatality rate around 30 percent. These droplets typically can't travel more than a few feet, "so prolonged face-to-face contact is required" to spread the disease, the CDC says People may also become infected through direct contact with bodily fluids or the skin lesions of infected people, or via indirect contact with contaminated clothing.

Symptoms include fever, headache, aching muscles, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Most individuals can recover within several weeks.

Because the disease is hard to spread, Schaffner speculated that there would be no further cases of monkeypox tied to the United Kingdom case, expect perhaps in family members who traveled with the patient, if that was the case.

This includes contacting a number of passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to Britain.

Earl Brown, a professor of virology at Brown University, told MailOnline hospital staff treating the patient at the Royal Free Hospital, London, are particularly at risk of catching the deadly virus.

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.

The patient is now being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London. There is no confirmation about whether the patient is a member of the military.

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