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Third case of monkeypox confirmed in England

Prior to September no cases of the condition had ever been seen in the UK

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Public Health England can confirm that a third individual has been diagnosed with monkeypox in England.

This person was involved in the care of the second patient to be confirmed to have monkeypox at Blackpool Victoria Hospital prior to the condition being diagnosed. This third case is now being cared for at the specialist unit at Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: “This healthcare worker cared for the patient before a diagnosis of monkeypox was made. We have been actively monitoring contacts for 21 days after exposure to detect anyone presenting with an illness so that they can be assessed quickly. It is therefore not wholly unexpected that a case has been identified.

“This person has been isolated and we are taking a highly precautionary approach to ensure that all contacts are traced.”

The first diagnosis of monkeypox in the UK was in a patient in Cornwall earlier this month.

Both the first and second case had recently travelled to Nigeria and there is no link between the two patients.

The first case was transferred to the Royal Free in London and the second case to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Dr Phin said: “We know that in September 2017 Nigeria experienced a large sustained outbreak of monkeypox and since then sporadic cases have continued to be reported. It is likely that monkeypox continues to circulate in Nigeria and could, therefore, affect travellers who are returning from this part of the world. However, it is very unusual to see two cases in such a relatively short space of time.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however, there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.

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