A man who recently entered the UK from Nigeria has been diagnosed with the monkeypox virus. The notifiable disease is extremely rare and has therefore been made public by the UK authorities.
The patient is currently being treated in isolation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s Infectious Diseases Unit in London. dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections UK Health Security Agency said on Saturday: “It is important to emphasize that monkeypox is not easily transmitted from person to person and the overall risk to the general public is very low.”
However, as a precaution, all passengers who traveled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK will be contacted.
The monkeypox virus belongs to the orthopoxviruses and can cause a smallpox-like illness in humans. Infected animals such as rats or primates can transmit it to humans through bites, ingestion, droplet infection, or contact with blood or secretions. Human-to-human transmission is also possible.
Infected people often suffer from a sudden high fever, severe headache, back or throat pain, cough and malaise and sometimes also diarrhea. Also Lymph node swelling is common. In rare cases, permanent damage can result in blindness and disfiguring scars. Severe, fatal courses of the disease remain rare, however.
The disease is particularly widespread in tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa. In principle, this disease rarely occurs in humans; According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, a slight increase in endemic areas could be due to the smallpox vaccination that has now been discontinued.