England reports case of rare monkeypox infection

Virus does not spread easily and overall risk to public is low, says UK Health Security Agency

epa08208650 Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London, Britain, 10 February 2020. Four more patients have been have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in UK bringing the number to eight. The patients have been transfered to specialist NHS centres at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital and the Royal Free hospital in London.  EPA/ANDY RAIN
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A person in England has had a rare viral monkeypox infection diagnosed, health authorities said on Saturday.

The UK Health Security Agency said the person, who recently travelled to Nigeria in west Africa, was being treated at an expert respiratory infectious disease unit at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London.

"It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low," said Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.

Although monkeypox is much milder than smallpox, with most infected people recovering within a few weeks, it can be fatal in rare cases.

Figures compiled by the World Health Organisation show it has been reported in 11 African countries since 1970 — Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan

The largest outbreak occurred in 2017 in Nigeria, about 40 years after the last confirmed case.

Updated: May 31, 2023, 10:07 AM