In what appears to be unrelated cases, two people in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with monkeypox. There is no link between the two patients, however, both were said to have contracted the disease in Nigeria before entering the UK.
The second patient is being treated in a specialist infectious disease unit at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, after being transferred from Blackpool Victoria Hospital. 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, Public Health England said.
Mike Beadsworth, the clinical director of the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit at the Liverpool hospital, said in a statement that there was “currently no risk to other staff, patients or visitors” from the monkeypox, and urged people to continue to only visit emergency rooms if their cases are serious. “The patient is being cared for on our specialist infectious and tropical diseases unit, by highly trained staff who are experienced in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases,” he said.
“We know that in September 2017, Nigeria experienced a large sustained outbreak of monkeypox,” said Nick Phin, the deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE, in a statement. “It is likely that monkeypox continues to circulate in Nigeria and could, therefore, affect travelers who are returning from this part of the world.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, monkeypox reemerged in Nigeria in 2017.
In Nigeria, before 2017 the most recent case of human monkeypox had been reported in 1978. By mid-November 2017, a large outbreak caused by the West African clade resulted in 146 suspected cases and 42 laboratory-confirmed cases from 14 states. Although the source is unknown, multiple sources are suspected. –Centers for Disease Control
According to CNN, monkeypox is a rare viral infection that typically only leads to mild illness and does not spread easily between people. The PHE said its symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and rash. People usually recover within a few weeks, though the virus can lead to serious illness in some cases.
The way these two cases came about was also extremely rare, said Phin. “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,” Phin added.
The CDC also claims that of those who contract monkeypox, one in ten cases end up resulting in death.