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Monkeypox: What is it and what are the symptoms?

MONKEYPOX cases have recently been reported in the UK- and one patient is being treated in the North West of England.

Last week, it was reported that a patient was being treated at the High Consequence Infectious Diseases Unit at Royal Liverpool Hospital.

A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are treating one patient who has tested positive for Monkeypox.

“They are being cared for on our High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital by highly trained staff who are experienced in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases.

“All necessary precautions are being taken by specialist staff and there is currently no risk to other staff, patients or visitors. We ask that people continue to use our services as normal.”

Here’s everything you need to know about monkeypox:

What is monkeypox and what are the symptoms?

A rare disease caused by a viral infection.

Monkeypox symptoms according to Public Health England

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Aching muscles
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

A rash usually begins 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms appear. The spots often start on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

During the illness the rash changes from raised red bumps, to spots filled with fluid. The spots eventually form scabs which later fall off.

How does it spread?

Most commonly when a person comes into close contact with an infected animal.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, but it’s possible to catch it from:

  • touching items like clothing, bedding or towels used by an infected person
  • touching monkeypox spots or scabs
  • a person with a monkeypox rash who coughs or sneezes near you

What are the symptoms?

Infected people usually start to show symptoms between five and 21 days after infection.

These include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

How serious is it?

Most patients recover within a few weeks and do not need treatment, but it can cause severe illness in some people.

What is the risk of catching monkeypox in the UK?

According to the NHS, there have only been a very small number of cases of monkeypox in the UK.

When there is a case, health professionals will aim to contact anyone who has been in close contact with the infected person.

If you have not been contacted, be reassured you are extremely unlikely to catch monkeypox.

Why is it called monkeypox?

The disease was first discovered in monkeys kept for research in 1958. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Where is it prevalent?

Cases have been reported in a number of countries in Africa, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Nigeria.

An outbreak occurred in America in 2003 after rodents were imported from Africa.

There was a sustained outbreak in Nigeria last year and there have been sporadic cases reported since then.