Monkeypox: new strain identified in UK after patient traveled to West Africa

Large spots on the body of a man who was found to be suffering from monkeypox. Pic: Journal of Infection

A new strain of monkeypox has been identified in the UK, health officials have confirmed.

A person who recently traveled to West Africa has been diagnosed with a different variant of monkey pox circulating during the current outbreak, the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) announced.

The unnamed individual has been admitted to the High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) unit at Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Contact tracing is now underway to determine if there are more linked cases.

No cases had yet been identified as of Thursday, September 1, the UKHSA said.

UKHSA incident manager Dr Sophia Maki said: “We are working to contact people who had close contact with the case before their infection was confirmed, to assess them if necessary and offer advices”.

The risk to the public is “very low” because of “well-established and robust” infection control procedures, which will be strictly followed, he added.

Anyone traveling to West and Central Africa is urged to be alert for the symptoms of monkeypox, which include high temperature, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen glands, tremors and exhaustion.

Unique genital lesions and ulcers in the mouth or anus have also been identified as symptoms of the virus through an international collaboration of doctors from 16 countries.

Some of the symptoms were so severe that they required patients to be admitted to hospital.

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Monkeypox vaccine stocks are running low

Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by the spread of the disease, with sexual proximity being the most likely route of transmission.

However, it can be spread through any close contact, scientific research revealed.

Chloe Orkin, Professor of HIV Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, where the data was collected, said in July: “Viruses know no borders and monkeypox infections have now been described in 70 countries and more than 13,000 people”.

Anyone returning to the UK with symptoms of monkeypox is asked to call 101.

The discovery of a new strain comes days after its appearance UK faces shortfall of 100,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine because the UKHSA vastly underestimated how many were required.

An The NHS pilot scheme is underway offering ‘fractional’ doses. to stretch jab stocks in an attempt to protect five times as many people.

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