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Viral infections

First UK case of monkeypox identified

An individual with the first case of monkeypox in the UK is being treated at Royal Free Hospital in London; however, Public Health England has stated that the risk of transmission to the general population is very low.

The first UK case of monkeypox, a rare viral infection, has been confirmed by Public Health England (PHE).

Monkeypox is a mild self-limiting illness causing symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion and, in some cases, a rash. Most people recover within a few weeks; however, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

According to PHE, infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person, but it assures that there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.

The affected individual, who is a resident of Nigeria, is believed to have contracted the infection before coming to the UK. They have been transferred to the expert infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London and are receiving appropriate care.

As a precautionary measure, PHE is working closely with NHS colleagues and will be contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual, including those who were on the same flight to the UK, to provide information and health advice.

“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.

“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.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205431

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