The rare monkeypox virus is seemingly spreading through Britain at a rate that has the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) concerned. New figures are scheduled to be released on Monday, 23 May, after 20 cases were reported on Friday, 20 May.
The spread of monkeypox is not linked to West African visits
Apart from the rate of infections, the spreading of the virus is not linked to any visits to West Africa where the virus is more common.
UKHSA chief medical adviser Susan Hopkins addressed the issue of infections by confirming that community transmissions are normal. This means that a person can become infected without being in contact with a person from West Africa, further increasing a person’s risk of infection.
According to Hopkins, the outbreak was more noticeable in urban areas. She further added that although most individuals infected would experience mild symptoms, the risk to the general population remains low but it is important for people to remain vigilant and be careful.
On 7 May, the first case in the United Kingdom was reported, involving a patient who had just visited Nigeria. Europe and North America are also experiencing an increase in infections.
What causes the spread of the virus?
Spreading of the virus can occur through contact with skin lesions and droplets from a person with the virus. Sharing personal items such as towels and bedding may also cause the virus to spread.
Once a person is infected they may experience a variety of symptoms including fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face. These symptoms are often mild and usually clear up in a few weeks.
While there is no treatment that specifically targets monkeypox receiving the vaccination against smallpox has reportedly been 85% effective in preventing the virus. With this information, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed that the government had begun purchasing smallpox vaccines, reports EWN.