The viral Monkeypox disease has been diagnosed on UK soil for the first time, no thanks to a patient who travelled to London from Nigeria on September 2, 2018, the BBC reports.
According to Public Health England (PHE), the patient was a resident of “Nigeria where the virus was probably contracted”.
The patient was first moved to a naval base in Cornwall but is now being treated at the infectious diseases unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a ‘zoonotic’ virus. That means it comes from animals.
Nigeria experienced a fresh outbreak of the disease in October of 2017.
It can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to humans.
Dr Michael Jacobs, clinical director of infection at the Royal Free Hospital, told the BBC that Monkeypox “does not spread easily between people and the risk of transmission to the wider public is very low”.
“We are using strict isolation procedures in hospital to protect our staff and patients,” he added.
Contact tracing technique
Health experts in the UK are working closely with NHS colleagues “as a precautionary measure” and will be contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual to provide information and health advice.
This includes contacting a number of passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK, the BBC writes.
Dr Nick Phin who is the deputy director of the National Infection Service said PHE “is following up those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.”
He said PHE and the NHS have “well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission”.
A brief history of Monkeypox
Monkeypox was first discovered in crab eating Monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958 by a scientist called Preben von Magnus.
Even though it’s called ‘Monkeypox’, most animals carry the virus.
Squirrels, rats, antelopes and some other rodents are vectors of Monkeypox.
Monkeypox can be contracted from an animal bite or from contact with an infected animal.
Fluids and droppings from infected animals also transmit the disease to humans.