Medicine

NCDC ramps up response as United Kingdom links monkeypox to Nigeria travel

NCDC ramps up response as United Kingdom links monkeypox to Nigeria travel

Nigeria suffered the largest documented outbreak of monkeypox a year ago, four decades after the country's last confirmed cases of the disease.

The first case was diagnosed in Cornwall and the second in Blackpool.

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.

Symptoms of the infectious disease begin with fatigue, fever, headache, muscle pains and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash that forms blisters and crusts over. "Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service, said it was "very unusual" to see two cases in this short a period of time".

The infection has been reported twice in the United Kingdom in the space of a week: once in Cornwall, presenting in a Nigerian national staying at a naval base, and then in Blackpool, in someone who had recently travelled to Nigeria.

Dr Mike Beadsworth, Clinical Director of the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit said: "We are treating a patient who has tested positive for monkeypox". A Technical Working Group coordinated by NCDC and comprising of partners from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control (US CDC) and other agencies, meet weekly to ensure coordination.

Monkeypox is a rare yet typically non-dangerous infection caused by a virus native to Central and West Africa.

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The condition was first seen in monkeys used for research in 1958, with the first reported human case in the Democratic Republic of Congo is 1970.

While Monkeypox is more deadly than diseases like Chickenpox, it can be potentially fatal, with 10 percent of people succumbing as a result.

Experts at PHE report that while monkeypox can be passed on, the disease does not spread easily, and that the risk of infection to the general population is "very low". A rash may also develop, which usually begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.

The second person who contracted the disease - returning from Nigeria after a visit to the country - is now located at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

It is transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or humans or contaminated materials. Most people recover within several weeks.

"Public Health England is following up those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary". The lesions progress to become small, fluid-filled blisters before scabbing over and falling off.

Symptoms usually appear about two weeks after a person is exposed to monkeypox.