As the Inquisitr reported on September 12, cases of the rare virus Monkeypox have been popping up in the U.K. The latest incident involves a healthcare worker in Blackpool, England.
In the first week of September, a Nigerian resident living in Cornwall was diagnosed with the virus; its first known historical occurrence in England. The next week, a patient was treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital before being diagnosed with monkeypox and transferred to Royal Liverpool University Hospital, according to CNN. It is believed that the healthcare worker at Blackpool contracted the virus from the second patient before it was diagnosed. The second patient is being treated in a specialized infectious disease unit at Liverpool, while the healthcare worker is being treated in isolation at the Royal Infirmary in Newcastle, according to a second CNN report.
Despite the alarming nature of the diagnoses, professor Jonathon Ball, a molecular virology specialist at the University of Nottingham, says that evidence indicates this is not an epidemic.
“The fact that only one of the fifty contacts of the initial monkeypox-infected patient has been infected shows how poorly infectious the virus is. It is wrong to think that we are on the brink of a nationwide outbreak.”
According to the New York Post, Nick Phin of Public Health England’s National Infection Service says that there was a large outbreak of monkeypox in Nigeria in 2017 and that the disease is likely still circulating there, exposing Brits traveling in the country. He suggests that this is the most likely vector for the disease’s first-time appearance in England.
Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, but is generally not as serious and is not as easily transferred from person to person. Normally, it is contracted through interaction with infected animals like rodents and monkeys (hence the name) and is thought to be native to central and western Africa. The symptoms of monkeypox include rash, blisters, fever, and body aches, and they generally subside within a few weeks. However, in rare cases, it can lead to more serious health concerns, and it is fatal in 1 percent to 10 percent of cases. As yet, there is no treatment or vaccination for the disease, though the World Health Organization reports that smallpox vaccines have been shown to be effective against monkeypox in the past.
The first case of monkeypox in humans was identified in 1970 in the former Republic of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in a 9-year-old boy.