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Monkeypox virus infection UK: What happens if you get monkeypox?

With monkeypox cases on the rise across Britain with 20 cases identified in the UK, we’ve taken a look at what happens if you get infected.

Cases of monkeypox have been reported in 14 countries, according to epidemiologists at Harvard University who are tracking the spread, including 40 cases in Spain and 23 in Portugal.

Monkeypox is usually found in West Africa, and the virus does not often spread elsewhere.

READ MORE: What is monkeypox and why should you be concerned?

READ MORE: New monkeypox guidance tells high-risk close contacts to isolate for 21 days

How is monkeypox spread? 

Transmission between people is occurring in the UK, with a large proportion of cases identified in the gay, bisexual and men who have sex with other men community.

Monkeypox is not normally a sexually-transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

It can also be spread through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, and through the coughs and sneezes of somebody with the infection.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox? 

The disease is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The first case identified in the UK was in a person who had returned from Nigeria, but other cases are unrelated to travel.

The stages of monkeypox (UK Health Security Agency/PA)

What should you do if you have monkeypox? 

According to the UKHSA, monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people and the overall risk to the UK population remains low.

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 sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off.

The symptoms usually clear up in two to four weeks.

Anyone with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, should contact NHS 111 or call a sexual health service if they have concerns, it said.

How is monkeypox treated?

Treatment for monkeypox aims to relieve symptoms. The illness is usually mild and most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks.

But as monkeypox can spread if there is close contact, you will need to be isolated if you’re diagnosed with it.

You may need to stay in a specialist hospital, so your symptoms can be treated and to prevent the infection spreading to other people.



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