UK directs contacts of confirmed monkeypox patients to isolate

NEWS DIGEST – The United Kingdom Health Security Agency, UKHSA, has directed persons who have come in close contact with confirmed monkeypox patients to isolate themselves for 21days.

The Agency that directed these persons to provide their details for contact tracing also advised them to forgo travel, and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12 years.

The UK has so far confirmed 20 cases and more than 80 have also been identified across Europe, the US, Canada, Israel, and Australia.

“Monkeypox is a rare viral infection most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.

“The disease first found in monkeys does not tend to spread easily between people but can be transmitted through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse.

“Symptoms, which include a high temperature, aches, and a rash of raised spots that later turn into blisters, are typically mild and for most people clear up within two to four weeks.

“A person is considered at high risk of having caught the infection if they have had household or sexual contact with, or have changed the bedding of an infected person without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Other people who may have come into contact with a case do not need to stay at home and isolate themselves but should watch out for symptoms such as fever and a rash,” the agency said.

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain and aching muscles.

Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, and then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The rash, which can be extremely itchy or painful, changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off. The lesions can cause scarring.

The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days.