A disease that has historically been almost entirely confined to Africa is now popping up in the UK. Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where the patient is being held, has only ever dealt with the disease in 2017. These cases were individuals who traveled to Nigeria, where a major outbreak was currently underway, and had made contact with the disease there before coming back to England.
“A healthcare worker has been quarantined with monkeypox in a bid to prevent the potentially deadly virus from spreading,” Independent reports. “The virus spreads through close contact and it takes 16 days for symptoms, including fever, headaches and a rash that can form crusted blisters, to appear.”
Those who the patient has been in contact with have been tracked and are being closely monitored. The disease has been documented as being fatal in one out of every 10 cases, though modern medicine and treatment were not available for the majority of the these cases.
“It has mostly spread on the African continent through the handling of infected monkeys. However, it is thought that Gambian giant rats and squirrels, along with other rodents are the most likely source of the virus,” Independent reports. “Eating inadequately cooked meats from infected animal is another possible risk factor, according to the World Health Organization.”
The outbreak is being closely watched, but with the incubation period being so long, it is hard to know as of yet whether or not the disease has been contained. In a few weeks time a better assessment will be available.