Monkeypox: Outbreak of rare viral disease has been confirmed in the UK

Two people in North Wales have been getting treatment for a rare viral disease—monkeypox.

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Yesterday, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that there have been two cases of monkeypox identified in North Wales.

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Monkeypox cases in the UK

It is understood that one of the two patients caught the diseaseoverseasand then passed it on to someone within their household after they returned to the UK. Hancock has assured the public that there is no cause for concern and that small outbreaks like this are ‘standard.’ He said:

As Health Secretary, you’re dealing with these sorts of outbreaks all of the time—I’m currently dealing with a monkeypox outbreak and cases of drug resistant TB, and that is absolutely standard.

Both of the patients got medical attention, but one of them is still undergoing treatment in a hospital in England. Public Health Wales and Public Health England have said that they are monitoring the situation closely.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is an extremely rare viral disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. The disease develops when one has been infected with the monkeypox virus, which is carried by animals. While the physical symptoms can look alarming, the disease is normally quite mild.

Upon infection, rashes will begin to appear all over your body and then they will transform into red bumps filled with pus. Other symptoms that are associated with monkeypox are fever, swollen glands, and muscle pain. In some cases, it is possible for patients to develop serious symptoms that need to be treated in the hospital.

Till date, only 15 countries around the world have experienced small outbreaks of monkeypox and a majority of the cases were found in Africa, near tropical rainforests. The chances of a local outbreak taking place in the UK are one in a million and authorities are certain that there is no risk of the disease spreading into the general public. Richard Firth, a consultant in health protection at Public Health Wales said:

Confirmed cases of monkeypox are a rare event in the UK, and the risk to the general public is very low.
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