Monkeypox: Rare disease explained
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Monkeypox cases have been discovered in the UK with seven people in total diagnosed with the disease. While the threat to the population is minimal, monkeypox is not well known by Brits. Its discovery in the UK has led to speculation about what monkeypox actually is and what it looks like.
What does the monkeypox rash look like?
A monkeypox rash appears one to five days after infection, according to the NHS.
It begins as raised spots on the skin, often beginning on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
The rash often spreads to the hands and feet instead of other areas of the body.
The raised bumps often turn into small blisters filled with fluid that eventually form into scabs.
It can easily be confused with a chickenpox rash.
The reason monkeypox causes a rash is because it is a relative of smallpox disease, which was known for its distinctive skin rash prior to being eradicated.
What are the other symptoms of monkeypox?
Other symptoms aside from the rash include:
- Fever and chills
- Head, back and muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Lethargy and exhaustion
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How is monkeypox transmitted?
The NHS has said monkeypox can be can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa.
It can also be transmitted from touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, via coughs or sneezes and touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs.
However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said there is a low risk of transmission in the UK population. The NHS explained it is uncommon to get monkeypox from another person.
Speaking of the latest cases, Colin Brown at UKHSA said in a statement: “While investigations remain ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasise it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with an infected symptomatic person.
“The overall risk to the general public remains very low.”
Is there a cure for monkeypox?
Unfortunately there is no cure for monkeypox.
Nevertheless, the smallpox vaccine gives immunity to monkeypox and can be used as a treatment if given soon after exposure.
The mortality rate is around 10 percent – but for most people, symptoms will pass within two to four weeks.
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