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Monkeypox Confirmed In UK Traveller From Nigeria

The government of the United Kingdom has confirmed the presence of a monkeypox infection in an unidentified person who travelled from Nigeria to England. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the infection was contracted in Nigeria before the patient arrived in the UK.

While ensuring the anonymity of the patient, the UKHSA, in a publication on the official UK government website, explained on Saturday, that the patient is currently receiving medical care at an infectious disease unit. They also added that a few experts in collaboration with colleagues at the National Health Service (NHS) in England are working together to contact people who have been near the patients to curtail a possible spread of the infection.

“The patient is receiving care at the expert infectious disease unit at the St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London. As a precautionary measure, UKHSA 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.”

Nicholas Price, a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’, confirmed the developments and said: “The patient is being treated in our specialist isolation unit at St Thomas’ Hospital by expert clinical staff with strict infection prevention procedures. This is a good example of the way that the High Consequence Infectious Diseases national network and UKHSA work closely together in responding swiftly and effectively to these sporadic cases.”

Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections in UKHSA, further explained that “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 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.”

He further added that both the UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with any sort of cases involving imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.