Two more people have been diagnosed with Monkeypox in England, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed.
The pair live in the same household and their infection isn’t linked to a previous confirmed case announced on 7 May.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that usually causes mild illness – most people recover within a few weeks though some suffer more severe illness.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
Infected people can also develop a rash, which often begins on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
Monkeypox doesn’t spread easily between people but can be spread when in close contact with an infected person.
The UKHSA has said that there is ‘a very low risk of transmission to the general population’.
How the two confirmed cases in London came to be infected is under investigation. Contact tracing is also underway.
One of them is being treated at the expert infectious disease unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London. The other case is isolating and does not currently require hospital treatment.
Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA, said: “We have confirmed 2 new monkeypox cases in England that are not linked to the case announced on May 7. While investigations remain ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasise it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with an infected symptomatic person. The overall risk to the general public remains very low.
“We are contacting any potential close contacts of the case. We are also working with the NHS to reach any healthcare contacts who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.
“UKHSA 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.”
Professor Julian Redhead, medical director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are caring for a patient in our specialist high consequence infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital. All of the necessary infectious control procedures have been followed and we are working closely with UKHSA and NHS England.”
Featured image: WHO/Nigeria Centre for Disease Control