Monkeypox UK: what symptoms does it have, is it dangerous and is there a vaccine?

There are currently seven cases of Monkeypox in the UK, with four more having recently been confirmed.

By jimmy johnson
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 11:08 am

A pathogen rarely seen in the UK, Monkeypox, arrived in the country on May 7 from Nigeria, according to the World Health Organisation.

It has been identified in the UK before – in June 2021 when two cases of it were discovered in North Wales.

At the time of writing, there are seven confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the UK. Four more cases have been discovered in the last week – three of them are from London, while the other is located in the North East. All of the cases are suspected to have originated from London, however.

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Symptoms of Monkeypox are often mild, but can develop into more serious conditions.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Monkeypox in Sheffield or South Yorkshire. The UHKSA will give a further comment should the pathogen reach the surrounding area.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an uncommon virus and is completely new to the UK. It was first identified in 1958 in Denmark, where monkeys were being held in a laboratory. There was also a minor outbreak of Monkeypox in the USA in 2003, which resulted in no deaths.

Unusually, all of the four new confirmed cases in the UK are in gay or bisexual men – however, there is no evidence to suggest that the virus is sexually transmitted.

Symptoms of Monkeypox includes a fever, muscle aches and constant exhaustion.

Monkeypox is from the same family as Smallpox, but is far less severe and infectious.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms of Monkeypox are usually mild and not particularly dangerous – however, it has been known to develop into something potentially serious and can be fatal in extreme circumstances.

In Nigeria, where Monkeypox originates from, eight of the 241 confirmed cases have resulted in death. If you catch Monkeypox, it will take from five to as many as 21 days for symptoms to become noticeable.

Initially, Monkeypox will cause a fever, various aches (including headaches and muscle aches), tiredness and frequent chills. Your body may fight off the infection before it develops any further, but if not, here’s what you can expect.

If given time, Monkeypox can cause a rash on the patient’s skin, starting on the face before moving to other parts of the body. These rashes can become scabs, which pose a major infection risk to anyone who comes in contact with them. They will itch, but it’s best to avoid touching them if you can.

What should I do if I catch Monkeypox?

First of all, you are very unlikely to die from Monkeypox (or even catch it in the first place) – so don’t panic!

If you suspect you may have Monkeypox, you should avoid contact with anyone (especially those who are immunocompromised) and contact your doctor immediately. They will refer you to a specialist who will be able to handle your case, as well as give you advice on how to deal with it.

Currently, there is no known vaccine or cure for Monkeypox – any treatment you receive will be using secondary medicines (most likely medicines used to treat Smallpox). However, as it generally isn’t fatal or dangerous, this shouldn’t be a worry for you.