Monkeypox outbreak: Doctor says there's no reason to panic
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The monkeypox virus is a rare disease which health authorities this week confirmed has been detected in the UK. The index case of this rare infection is said to have been acquired overseas and spread to another person in the country. Britain is still amidst its fight against coronavirus, but now health officials are monitoring the monkeypox cases to ensure it does not spread.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the UK is dealing with an outbreak of monkeypox while addressing the Health and Social Select Committee on Thursday afternoon.
While being questioned about the Government’s response to the Covid pandemic, Mr Hancock told MPs: “The tracing and isolation system was essentially built for very important but very small outbreaks.
“As Health Secretary, you’re dealing with these sorts of outbreaks all of the time.
“I’m currently dealing with a monkeypox outbreak and cases of drug-resistant TB and that is absolutely standard and the lack of that capability at the start meant that the options that we had were fewer.”
Public Health Wales confirmed two members of the same household in North Wales had developed the virus.
One of the individuals caught the disease while abroad.
The health body said it was working with Public Health England and that both people are being treated in hospital in England.
One of those infected with the virus is still being treated in hospital.
Public Health Wales confirmed the risk to the wider public is “low”.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease which is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.
Most cases of the disease have been in Africa, but there have been outside cases reported around the world.
Typically the virus involves mild illness which improves on its own without treatment.
However, some people develop more serious symptoms and must be cared for in specialist healthcare facilities.
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Monkeypox virus: Monkeypox virus diagnosed in UK – how does it spread? [EXPLAINER]
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The monkeypox virus causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Typically the virus presents with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
It is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals, such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission is also possible.
Up to a 10th of people infected with the virus may die, with most deaths occurring in those of younger ages.
Richard Firth Consultant in Health Protection at Public Health Wales said: “Confirmed cases of monkeypox are a rare event in the UK, and the risk to the general public is very low.
“We have worked with multi-agency colleagues, following tried and tested protocols and procedures, and identified all close contacts.
“Actions have been put in place to minimise the likelihood of further infection.
“Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus and has been reported mainly in central and West African countries.”
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