caption of the image Symptoms of monkey pox include a rash that begins on the face and extends to the body
As the third case of monkey pox is reported in the UK, we are taking a look at this rare, small-known disease.
How common is monkeypox?
Smallpox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same virus family as smallpox, although it is it is much less severe and experts say the risk of infection is low.
This is the first time the disease has been observed in the UK.
It occurs mainly in remote areas of Central and West African countries, near tropical rainforests.
There are two main strains ofvirus - West and Central Africa.
Two of the patients infected in the UK have traveled from Nigeria, so it is likely that they are suffering from the West African strain of the virus, which is usually mild, but it is not. not yet confirmed.
The third case was a healthcare worker who picked up the virus from one of the patients.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms include fever, headache, swelling, back pain, muscle pain, and general listlessness.
Once the fever has subsided , a rash may develop, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, most often the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
L The rash, which can be extremely itchy, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. Lesions can cause cicatrices.
The infection usually goes away on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days.
How to catch it?
Monkey pox can be spread when a person has close contact with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or through the eyes, nose or mouth.
It can also be transmitted through contact with infected animals such ase monkeys, rats and squirrels, or by objects contaminated with viruses, such as bedding and clothing.
Image copyright Scientific Photo Library caption of the image Monkeypox virus particle
How dangerous is it?
Most cases of the virus are mild, sometimes resembling chickenpox, and go away on their own within a few weeks.
However, monkey pox can sometimes be more serious and is believed to have caused deaths in West Africa.
How common are epidemics?
The virus was first identified in a captive monkey and since 1970, sporadic epidemics were reported in 10 African countries.
In 2003, there was an epidemic in the statesUnited, the first time the disease has been observed outside of Africa. Patients contracted the disease from close contact with prairie dogs infected with a variety of small mammals imported into the country. A total of 81 cases have been reported, but none have resulted in death.
Nigeria experienced the largest documented epidemic in 2017, around 40 years after the country experienced its last confirmed cases of monkey pox. There have been 172 suspected cases of monkey pox, and 75% of the victims were males between the ages of 21 and 40.
What is the treatment?
There is no cure for monkey pox, but outbreaks can be controlled by preventing infections.
Vaccination against smallpox has been pro Even to be 85% effective in preventing monkey pox, and is still sometimes used.
Should the public be concerned?
Experts say we are notnot on the verge of a national epidemic and, according to Public Health England, the risk to the public is low.
Professor Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham, said: "The fact that only one of the 50 contacts of the original patient infected with monkeypox was infected shows how infective the virus is.
"It is wrong to think that we are on the verge of a nationwide epidemic.
Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England (PHE), added: "It is important to stress that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low. "
PHE follows those who have had contact with the patient to give advice and monitor if necessary.
Sources: PHE England and World Health Organization.