Monkeypox: First cases of rare infection diagnosed in UK
| CDC is monitoring disease
| Rob Picheta, CNN – Two people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in Britain in apparently unrelated cases.
Both patients are believed to have contracted the disease in Nigeria before traveling to England, and were diagnosed days apart.
There is no known UK link between the two patients.
It comes after a Nigerian resident was diagnosed with the disease in Cornwall last week.
The infection had never previously been diagnosed in the United Kingdom.
The second patient is being treated in a specialist infectious disease unit.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that typically only leads to mild illness and is said not spread easily between people. [Note: CDC images of monkeypox do not appear to be “mild”.]
Its symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and rash. People usually recover within a few weeks, though it can lead to serious illness in some cases.
PHE said they were contacting a number of people who may have been in contact with the patients, including fellow passengers who traveled with the initial patient on their flight from Nigeria.
“It is very unusual to see two cases in such a relatively short space of time. We are working hard to contact individuals, including healthcare workers, that might have come into contact with the individual to provide information and health advice,” Nick Phin, the deputy director of the National Infection Service.
“We know that in September 2017, Nigeria experienced a large sustained outbreak of monkeypox,” he added. “It is likely that monkeypox continues to circulate in Nigeria and could, therefore, affect travelers who are returning from this part of the world.”
As many as one in ten cases of the disease in Africa result in death, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease requires two people to be in close contact in order to be passed between them. See the full story at CNN. (Story continues below … )
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What is Monkeypox virus?
Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus.
Symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes, and feeling tired. This is followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts over.
The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is around 10 days.
The duration of symptoms is typically 2 to 5 weeks.
Monkeypox may be spread from handling bush meat, an animal bite or scratch, body fluids, contaminated objects, or close contact with an infected person. The virus is believed to normally circulate among certain rodents in Africa.
Diagnosis can be confirmed by testing a lesion for the virus’s DNA.
The disease can appear similar to chickenpox.
The smallpox vaccine is believed to prevent infection. Cidofovir may be useful as treatment.
The risk of death in those infected is up to 10%.
The disease mostly occurs in Central and West Africa.
It was first identified in 1958 among laboratory monkeys.
The first cases in humans were found in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An outbreak that occurred in the United States in 2003 was traced to a pet store where imported Gambian rodents were sold.
Monkeypox virus causes the disease in both humans and animals. It was first identified in 1958 as a pathogen of crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) being used as laboratory animals. The crab-eating macaque is often used for neurological experiments. Monkeypox virus is an Orthopoxvirus, a genus of the family Poxviridae that contains other viral species that target mammals. The virus is found mainly in tropical rainforest regions of Central and West Africa.
The virus was first discovered in monkeys (hence the name) in 1958, and in humans in 1970. Between 1970 and 1986, over 400 cases in humans were reported. Small viral outbreaks with a death rate in the range of 10% and a secondary human-to-human infection rate of about the same amount occur routinely in equatorial Central and West Africa.
The primary route of infection is thought to be contact with the infected animals or their bodily fluids.
The first reported outbreak in the United States occurred in 2003 in the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, with one occurrence in New Jersey. The outbreak was traced to prairie dogs infected from an imported Gambian pouch rat. No deaths occurred.
The virus can spread both from animal-to-human and from human-to-human. Infection in the former can occur via an animal bite or by direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids.
The virus can spread in the latter both by respiratory (airborne) contact and by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Risk factors for transmission include sharing a bed or room, or using the same utensils as an infected patient.
An increased transmission risk is associated with factors involving introduction of virus to the oral mucosa.
The incubation period is 10–14 days. Prodromal symptoms include swelling of lymph nodes, muscle pain, headache, and fever prior to the emergence of the rash. The rash is usually only present on the trunk, but has the capacity to spread to the palms and soles of the feet, occurring in a centrifugal distribution. The initial macular lesions exhibit a papular, then vesicular and pustular appearance.
In addition to monkeys, reservoirs for the virus are found in Gambian pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus), dormice (Graphiurus spp.) and African squirrels (Heliosciurus, and Funisciurus). The use of these animals as food may be an important source of transmission to humans.