Second person is struck down with deadly monkeypox virus in UK


A second person has been struck down with the deadly monkeypox virus just days after health officials revealed the first ever case had reached the UK. 

Public Health England said the patient is currently receiving treatment at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a specialist centre.

Officials believe they caught the virus, often spread through handling monkeys and proves fatal in 10 per cent of cases, in Nigeria before flying to England.

The unidentified patient first went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with symptoms, before they tested positive for monkeypox.

Public Health England said the patient is currently receiving treatment at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a specialist centre (pictured)

Public Health England said the patient is currently receiving treatment at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a specialist centre (pictured)

The viral disease was recorded for the first time in the UK on Friday in a Nigerian national staying at a naval base in Cornwall.

The patient was transferred to the expert infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London on Saturday morning.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of PHE’s National Infection Service, confirmed the two cases are not related – but said it was ‘unusual’ to see two cases in a matter of days.

Nigeria experienced a ‘large sustained outbreak’ of monkeypox last September, he said, and since then sporadic cases have continued to be reported.

Dr Phin added: ‘It is likely 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 two cases in such a relatively short space of time. 

The virus was recorded for the first time in the UK on Friday in a Nigerian national staying  in Cornwall, who is now being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London (pictured)

The virus was recorded for the first time in the UK on Friday in a Nigerian national staying in Cornwall, who is now being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London (pictured)

The viral disease was recorded for the first time in the UK on Friday in a Nigerian national staying at a naval base in Cornwall, who is now being treated at the Royal Free Hospital

The viral disease was recorded for the first time in the UK on Friday in a Nigerian national staying at a naval base in Cornwall, who is now being treated at the Royal Free Hospital

WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

Monkeypox – often caught through handling monkeys – is a rare viral disease that kills around 10 per cent of people it strikes, according to figures.

The virus responsible for the disease is found mainly in the tropical areas of west and central Africa.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, with the first reported human case in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970. Human cases were recorded for the first time in the US in 2003 and the UK in September 2018.

It resides in wild animals but humans can catch it through direct contact with animals, such as handling monkeys, or eating inadequately cooked meat. 

The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose or mouth.

It can pass between humans via droplets in the air, and by touching the skin of an infected individual, or touching objects contaminated by them. 

Symptoms usually appear within five and 21 days of infection. These include a fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue.

The most obvious symptom is a rash, which usually appears on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. This then forms skin lesions that scab and fall off.

Monkeypox is usually mild, with most patients recovering within a few weeks without treatment. Yet, the disease can often prove fatal.

Source: Gov.uk

‘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 at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, a specialist centre in respiratory infectious diseases, 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.’  

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that was first discovered in monkeys in 1958. While similar to smallpox, it is not as deadly.

The first case in a human was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, and since cases have been reported in central and west African countries.  

Initial symptoms include fever, headache and chills. As the illness develops large welts can appear over the face and body.

Monkeypox resides in wild animals but humans can catch it through direct contact with animals, such as handling monkeys, or eating inadequately cooked meat.

Officials believe the unidentified patient caught the infection, fatal in 10 per cent of cases, in Nigeria before flying to England (stock)

Officials believe the unidentified patient caught the infection, fatal in 10 per cent of cases, in Nigeria before flying to England (stock)

It can pass between humans via droplets in the air, and by touching the skin of an infected individual, or touching objects contaminated by them. 

Most people who contract the disease recover within a few weeks, but in up to 10 per cent of cases it is fatal.

It comes after an eminent virologist yesterday told MailOnline monkeypox infects 10 per cent of people who come into contact with sufferers. 

Professor Earl Brown, at the University of Ottawa, said hospital staff treating the patient at are particularly at risk of catching the deadly virus.

His comments were sparked by officials confirming the first ever case of the lethal virus in the UK. 

Further information on the first patient’s state has not yet been released.

However, PHE said it was working with the NHS to ensure those who may have been in contact with the man are unaffected.

This included contacting those who were travelling on the same flight as the patient from Nigeria to the UK. 

Nigeria was hit hard by a virulent outbreak of monkeypox last September, with 89 people infected and six deaths recorded in March.

The country had not previously reported a case of the disease since 1978.

The most recent government figures, released last year, estimate there are 190,000 people that were born in Nigeria who currently live in the UK.

Thirty-seven people were confirmed to have been struck down by monkeypox in an outbreak in the US in 2003.

It was the first time the disease, which had been confirmed in five states, had been reported in humans outside of Africa. 

Monkeypox was two years ago named as one of 37 viruses that pose a potential threat to populations around the world.

University of Edinburgh listed the virus among MERS and two strains of Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever responsible for a brutal pandemic in 2014. 



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