May 7, 2022, 2:36 PM | Updated: May 7, 2022, 3:02 p.m.
A rare case of monkeypox has been confirmed in England, health bosses have said.
The patient is believed to have contracted the infection from Nigeria, where he recently travelled, before returning to England, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.
The person is being treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Infectious Diseases Expert Unit, London.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people, but can spread when a person is in close contact with an infected person.
The first UK case of monkeypox was recorded in September 2018. The individual is also believed to have contracted the infection in Nigeria.
It is usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, serious illness can occur in some people.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
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A rash may also develop, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, the UKHSA said.
People who may have been in close contact with the infected patient are being contacted by the UKHSA.
This includes contacting a number of passengers who have traveled near the patient on the same flight to the UK.
People without symptoms are not considered contagious but, as a precaution, those who have been in close proximity are being contacted to ensure that if they do feel unwell they can be treated quickly.
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Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “It is important to stress that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.
“We are working with the NHS EI to contact people who have been in close contact with the case before their infection was confirmed, to assess them if necessary and provide advice.
“The UKHSA and NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.”
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Dr Nicholas Price, director of the NHSEI High Consequence Infectious Diseases (Airborne) Network and infectious disease consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: ‘The patient is being treated in our specialist isolation unit at St Thomas by expert clinical staff with strict infection control procedures.
“This is a good example of how the National High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network and the UKHSA are working closely together to respond quickly and effectively to these sporadic cases.”