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Monkeypox case in England

Cases of monkeypox confirmed in England.

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Latest update

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 case in Blackpool Victoria Hospital before monkeypox was diagnosed.

This third case is now isolated to minimise the risk of onward transmission to others. They are being looked after in the specialist unit at Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

We are following up with close contacts of this new case to provide advice and monitor their health. We are adopting a highly precautionary approach to minimise the risk of additional cases and are tracing anyone who had contact with this individual 24 hours before they noticed a rash.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the National Infection Service at PHE, 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.

Previous updates

11 September 2018

Public Health England (PHE) can confirm that a second individual has been diagnosed with monkeypox in England.

There is no UK link to the patient diagnosed last week in Cornwall who is currently receiving care at the Royal Free in London. This second patient had travelled to Nigeria where they are believed to have acquired the infection. The second case first presented at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and following a positive test result was transferred to Royal Liverpool University Hospital, an expert respiratory infectious disease centre, where they are receiving appropriate care.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service at PHE:

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 2 cases in such a relatively short space of time. We are working hard to contact individuals, including healthcare workers, that might have come into contact with the individual to provide information and health advice.

Dr Mike Beadsworth, Clinical Director of the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit said:

We are treating a patient who has tested positive for monkeypox. The patient is being cared for on our specialist infectious and tropical diseases unit, by highly trained staff who are experienced in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases.

All necessary precautions are being taken by specialist staff and there is currently no risk to other staff, patients or visitors.

We ask that people continue to use our services as normal and that people only come to our emergency department if their condition is serious and/or an emergency.

8 September 2018

Public Health England (PHE) can confirm an individual has been diagnosed with monkeypox in England. This is the first time this infection has been diagnosed in the United Kingdom (UK).

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.

The patient was staying at a naval base in Cornwall prior to transfer to the expert infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital, London where they are now receiving appropriate care.

The patient is a resident of Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the infection, before travelling to the UK.

As a precautionary measure, PHE experts are working closely with NHS colleagues and will be contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual to provide information and health advice.

This includes contacting a number of passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK. People without symptoms are not considered infectious but, as a precaution, those who have been in close proximity are being contacted to ensure that if they do become unwell they can be treated quickly. If passengers are not contacted then there is no action they should take.

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

Dr Michael Jacobs, clinical director of infection at the Royal Free Hospital, said:

Monkeypox is, in most cases, a mild condition which will resolve on its own and have no long-term effects on a person’s health. Most people recover within several weeks.

It is a rare disease caused by monkeypox virus and has been reported mainly in central and west African countries.

It does not spread easily between people and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low. We are using strict isolation procedures in hospital to protect our staff and patients.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service at PHE, said:

It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.

Public Health England is following up those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.

PHE and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission.

Published 8 September 2018
Last updated 26 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated with latest information on monkeypox cases in England.
  2. Updated with latest information on monkeypox cases in England.
  3. First published.