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First Case of Monkey Pox Confirmed in Scotland

STATEMENT FROM PUBLIC HEALTH SCOTLAND

Monkeypox has been confirmed in an individual in Scotland. 

The individual is receiving care and treatment appropriate to their condition and contact tracing is underway.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually found in West and Central Africa. The West African strain that has been recently detected in the UK is generally a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone already infected and with symptoms of monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to monitor and respond to potential and confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.

As of Friday 20 May, the UKHSA has identified 20 cases in England but more are expected.

Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director, PHS explains:

“Public Health Scotland is aware of an individual in Scotland who is confirmed to have monkeypox. The affected individual is being managed and treated in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance.

“We have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with such cases of infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.

“We are working with NHS Boards and wider partners in Scotland and the UK to investigate the source of this infection. Close contacts of the case are being identified and provided with health information and advice. This may include the offer of vaccination.

“The overall risk to the general public is low.

“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they have any concerns.”

Symptoms

Initial symptoms of monkey pox include fever or high temperature, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genital area.

The rash changes and goes through different stages, before finally forming a scab, which typically falls off over the course of a couple of weeks. Individuals are infectious from the point symptoms start until all the scabs fall off. During this time close contact with others must be avoided.

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 fever or high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms.

It is not common to get monkeypox from a person with the infection because it does not spread easily between people. But it can be spread through:

  • handling clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash
  • touching monkeypox skin lesions or scabs, particularly if your own skin has sores or cuts
  • the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash

Monkeypox can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa. It’s thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.

It is possible to catch monkeypox by eating infected bush meat that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching other products from infected bush animals (such as animal skin or fur).

In rare cases monkeypox patients may be offered antiviral treatment to slow down the spread of the infection and limit the severity of the illness. Their close contacts may be offered Imvanex, a vaccine effective against monkeypox.

More information here about Monkeypox: Monkeypox Gov UK

(Image Source: IANS/Representational)

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1 reply »

  1. Let’s just hope that the government and the public health teams have learned some lessons in infection prevention and control from Covid.
    Simple things like reminding/advising not only hospitals, care settings but also hotels, guesthouses etc. that linen and towels should be washed over 60 degrees (ideally 90 degrees) would probably help.
    Playing down the (statistically presumedly currently still low-‘ish’) risk to the general population is not necessarily the most sensible approach. Especially since there are still a lot of Covid infections out there (running under the radar due to lack of testing) and nobody can yet say how problematic potential co-infections could be.
    Given that we have a still ongoing pandemic which is most dangerous for elderly and vulnerable, we may well face a parallel epidemic, this time affecting the younger ones which were not part of previous vaccination programmes.
    Both diseases have their own dynamics: whilst Covid may experience a seasonal dampening effect (as respiratory diseases do), mingling, catching-up on social contacts and some ‘fun’ (I guess everybody knows what I mean) aides the spread of the monkeypox virus.
    Keeping my fingers crossed that we are not currently brewing the perfect storm… and then go into a winter where many will face economic or even existential pressures (cost of living crisis)… living in cold, damp, wet unheated homes with limited affordability of nutritious and healthy food is not in any way beneficial to public health.

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