Fears of monkeypox outbreak are on the rise in England after a traveler brought the infectious disease back home after a trip to Nigeria.
According to Public Health England, the patient contracted the virus while vacationing in Nigeria and potentially spread it to other travelers on the plane.
Humans can contract the infectious virus from animals. While monkeypox, which is similar to smallpox, doesn’t spread between people easily, it comes with a fatality rate of 1 to 10%.
As per the World Health Organization website, “monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a viral disease with symptoms in humans similar, but milder, to those seen in smallpox patients. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, whereas human monkeypox is endemic in villages of Central and West Africa.
“The occurrence of cases is often found close to tropical rainforests where there is frequent contact with infected animals. There is no evidence to date that person-to-person transmission alone can sustain monkeypox in the human population.”
After the infected individual was isolated at St Thomas’ Hospital, health officials began the crackdown on people who might have been in contact with the traveler after his visit to Nigeria in order to prevent the disease from spreading.
Speaking of the rare infectious disease, they said: “It is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.”
As professor Jimmy Whitworth of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine warned, “it is possible that additional cases will be identified from amongst the contacts of this case, or in other travelers returning from countries in Africa where the infection occurs.”
While “the infection is not easily transmitted between people,” the professor insisted that rapid measures have to be taken to prevent it from spreading.
“The key public health measures are to isolate the patient and to identify and follow up any close contacts,” he said.
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