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Monkeypox in North Wales, ex Nigeria

14 Jun 2021

On 25 May 2021, UK public health authorities notified the World Health Organization of two cases of monkeypox in North Wales. The first case arrived in the UK on 8 May 2021 after living and working in Delta State, Nigeria, where monkeypox is known to occur.

On 10 May, this case developed a rash while in quarantine and was admitted to hospital on 23 May 2021. On 29 May 2021, a family member living with the first case became unwell and was also diagnosed with monkeypox and admitted to hospital.

Both cases are recovering. Public health authorities advise that necessary precautions have been taken, close contacts have been traced and risk to the public is low. Since 2018, a total of five cases of monkeypox have now been imported into the UK.

Monkeypox is an uncommon infection caused by the monkeypox virus. It occurs mainly in forested areas of Central and West Africa. Most infections result from direct contact with infected animals. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people but it is possible to catch it from having close contact with an infected person or  touching their personal items. Symptoms of monkeypox are usually a high temperature (fever) and a flu-like illness followed by a skin rash.

Advice to Travellers

It is rare for travellers to become infected. If you are travelling to Central and West Africa, you should:

  • practice careful hand hygiene if visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives
  • avoid contact with primates and rodents and avoid eating undercooked meat from these animals
  • wear protective clothing, including gloves, if you are involved in the slaughter or care of animals in these regions

A vaccine against monkeypox is not widely available.