The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 within the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. From that point on monkeypox has been reported in humans from other central and western African countries.
If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include:
- a high temperature
- a headache
- muscle aches
- swollen glands
- shivering (chills)
A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body.
The rash is typically confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which changes into small blisters stuffed with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off.
The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.
If you plan on travelling to West and Central Africa then here are a couple of things you can do to cut back the danger of getting it.
Wash your hands with soap and water regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
Only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly
- Don't go near wild or stray animals, including dead animals
- Don't go near any animals that appear unwell
- Don't eat or touch meat from wild animals (bush meat)
- Don't share bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox
- Don't have close contact with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox
Only a few people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK. These people had all traveled to west Africa or were close contacts of someone who had traveled to west Africa.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed a case has been found in Britain in a statement today.
The patient travelled from Nigeria and is now being treated at St Thomas's Hospital in London.
UKHSA is now working with the NHS to contact anyone who may have been in close contact to the infected person.
The disease is extremely rare and therefore the risk of catching it within the UK is extremely low.
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