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Monkeypox From Nigeria Spreads To UK

Two people have contracted a rare disease called monkeypox in the UK during the last week, leading to fears that there has been an outbreak of the potentially fatal condition.

It is believed to have spread from Nigeria after Public Health England (PHE) revealed a Nigerian citizen staying at a naval base in Cornwall was the first person in Britain to be diagnosed with the viral infection.

He is being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and those who were on the same flight have been contacted as a precautionary measure.

Similarly, the second patient had travelled to Nigeria before testing positive for monkeypox at Blackpool Victoria Hospital earlier this week. They are currently at Royal Liverpool University Hospital where they can receive care for infectious diseases.

Deputy director at the National Infection Service at PHE Dr Nick Phin noted there was an outbreak of monkeypox in Nigeria last September, and cases are continuing to be reported throughout the African nation.

“It is likely that monkeypox continues to circulate in Nigeria and could, therefore, affect travellers who are returning from this part of the world,” he stated, adding it is, nevertheless, “very unusual to see two cases in such a relatively short space of time”.

This is the first occurrence of the disease in the UK, despite it being diagnosed in the Democratic Republic of Congo as long ago as 1970. It has spread throughout Africa by infected monkeys, as well as Gambian giant rats and squirrels.

Symptoms of monkeypox begin with a fever, intense headache, back pain, muscle ache and lack of energy. This is followed by a rash that turns into fluid-filled blisters that crust over within ten days.

Although it can be fatal, particularly among young children, its fatality rate is between one and ten per cent, according to the World Health Organisation.

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