For the second time in fifteen months, a monkeypox case in the United Kingdom (U.K.) has been traced to Nigeria. According to a report published yesterday by Daily Mail UK, government officials have revealed a person in South West England has been diagnosed with monkeypox after visiting Nigeria.
A virus spread by monkeys, rats, squirrels and other small mammals, causes the rare tropical disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and blisters on the skin. According to the report, specialists at St Thomas’ Hospital Trust in central London are now caring for the patient, who lives in the UK. But Public Health England (PHE) has refused to reveal their age or sex but revealed they were diagnosed Tuesday, December 3.
Last year, the illness appeared in two patients who had travelled to Africa, and a third who was a healthcare worker looking after one of the original two. The first case was unveiled on Friday, September 7, in a Nigerian naval officer who was visiting Cornwall for training.
The following week officials revealed a second patient was being treated at a hospital in Liverpool, but they insisted the two cases were not linked.A health worker then caught the infection from the northern patient while they were treating them at a hospital in Blackpool – the infection had spread before it was officially diagnosed.
All three patients are believed to have recovered. Indeed, monkeypox appeared in the UK for the first time last year when three people caught the infection in separate instances in Cornwall, Blackpool and Liverpool. The illness can spread between people either by skin-to-skin contact, coughs and sneezes or by touching contaminated clothes or bedding.
What is monkeypox? Monkeypox is a rare viral disease, which causes blistering skin rash and feverish, flu-like symptoms. The virus responsible for the disease is found mainly in the tropical areas of west and central Africa. According to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an outbreak of monkeypox is continuing in Nigeria and more than 300 cases and seven deaths had been reported between September 2017 and January 2019.
Cases are known to have been spread out of the country to the UK, Israel and Singapore, but had not been seen in the nation for 40 years before this outbreak.It was this Nigerian outbreak, which made clear to researchers how the illness could spread between human patients. The patient in Israel was a man who lived and worked in a city called Port Harcourt in the south of Nigeria, and the Singapore patient had been in the country, too.Some people who come into close contact with infected patients are given a smallpox vaccine to protect them because the illnesses are so similar.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, could not be reached at press time to confirm this particular case of monkeypox in the UK traced to Nigeria. But Ihekweazu had told The Guardian that the NCDC is working with the PHE on disease control especially on monkeypox.
According to latest figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria continues to report sporadic cases of monkeypox after the index case was reported two years ago (September, 2017).In the reporting month (September 2019), 15 new suspected monkeypox cases were reported from five States – Lagos (five), Rivers (two), Akwa Ibom (three), Zamfara (one), Delta (one), Imo (two) and the Federal Capital Teritory, FCT (one)
Five of the 15 suspected cases were confirmed positive for monkeypox in three states- Lagos (three), Rivers (one) and Akwa Ibom (one).Five of the suspected cases tested positive for chickenpox while others are for further evaluation. No death recorded in the reporting month
According to the NCDC, a total of 81 suspected cases have been reported so far in 2019 of which 39 confirmed cases were recorded in nine states (Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Akwa ibom, Enugu, Anambra, Cross River, and Oyo) and one death.Of the confirmed cases, 59 per cent are from two states, Delta (28 percent) and Lagos (26 per cent). The most affected age group is 21-40 years (Range: 15-51years, median age: 32 years). 84.6 per cent of confirmed cases are male (male to female ratio = 2.6:1)
Since the beginning of the outbreak in September 2017, 176 confirmed cases and nine deaths have been recorded in 18 states (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Bauchi, FCT, Abia, Oyo, Enugu, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Edo, and Anambra).
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 United States (US) in 2003 and the UK in September 2018.It is found in wild animals but humans can catch it through direct contact with animals, such as touching monkeys, squirrels rats or other mammals, or eating badly cooked meat.
The virus can enter the body through broken skin 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. There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, according to the World Health Organisation.
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