Monkeypox case discovered in England in traveller who 'caught it in Nigeria', UKHSA reveals
A rare case of monkeypox has been discovered in England, the UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced.
The patient has a recent travel history in Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the viral infection, before they travelled to the UK.
The person, whose identity has not been revealed by UKHSA, is now receiving care at the expert infectious disease unit at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London.
Monkeypox, which is similar to smallpox, causes mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks, but it can cause severe illness in some people.
Experts at the UKHSA are monitoring the case and working closely with the NHS to contact people who might have been in close contact with the individual.
Dr Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, 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.
“We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) to contact the individuals who have had close contact with the case prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.
“UKHSA 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.”
Dr Nicholas Price, consultant in infectious diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and an adviser to NHS England, said: “The patient is being treated in our specialist isolation unit at St Thomas’ Hospital by expert clinical staff with strict infection prevention procedures.
“This is a good example of the way that the high consequence infectious diseases national network and UKHSA work closely together in responding swiftly and effectively to these sporadic cases.”
The first UK case of monkeypox was recorded in September 2018. The individual was also believed to have contracted the infection in Nigeria.
A rash can also develop, usually starting on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. It eventually forms a scab which falls off.