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Monkeypox virus: Four new cases; warning signs to watch out for
Seven infections so far
Monkeypox cases jumped to seven infections in total, with three in London and one in North East England. Urgent investigations are underway to establish links between the latest four cases, although there seems to be no connection yet to the cases announced on May 7 and May 14.
On 7 May 2022, WHO was informed of a confirmed case of monkeypox in an individual who travelled from the United Kingdom to Nigeria and subsequently returned to the United Kingdom. The case developed a rash on 29 April 2022 and arrived in the United Kingdom on 4 May, departing Nigeria on 3 May. Monkeypox was suspected and the case was immediately isolated.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) noted that all of the latest patients being treated for the viral infection self-identify as gay, bisexual, or have been with other men.
How it spreads
According to NHS UK, monkeypox can be passed on via touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash. It can also spread by touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs. The coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash can also spread the virus to those around them.
On the transmission mode of monkeypox, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, "Secondary, or human-to-human, transmission is relatively limited. Infection can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects."
Health experts are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.
What happens if you get infected?
The initial symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. People are advised to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on the body, especially by the genitalia. The development of the rashes often begin on the face and then can spread to other parts of the body. Experts note that when the rash first emerges, it can look similar to a chickenpox or syphilis rash.
Duration of infection and recovery
The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash. The illness tends to be mild and most people recover within four weeks. However, those infected need to stay in a specialised hospital so the infection does not spread to other people.
Can it be prevented?
There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) US advises to avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs). Contact should also be avoided with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
The CDC adds that the infected patients should be isolated from others who could be at risk for infection. People are advised to practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans, such as washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- by Republica