Monkeypox – United Kingdom

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Two cases of monkeypox were reported in Wales, the UK.

The first patient arrived in the UK from Nigeria on May 8 and developed a rash two days later. He was admitted to the hospital on 23 May. On 29 May, a family member that lived with the patient also developed the symptoms of monkeypox and was isolated in an appropriate facility. Both patients are stable and recovering.

Photo: Smallpox virus, a close relative of Monkeypox – Electron micrograph.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that mostly occurs in Central and West Africa. The disease is similar to smallpox and involves blistered skin but it is often milder. Humans can be infected by an animal via a bite, or by direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. The virus can also spread from human to human, by respiratory (airborne) contact or by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

The smallpox vaccine can protect against monkeypox.

The virus was first identified in 1958 among laboratory monkeys. The first cases in humans were found in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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