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Seven people in the United Kingdom (UK) have contracted a rare disease called monkeypox. On May 18, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed its concerns over the unusual outbreak in England.
It was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human to be recorded contracting the disease was in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox in 1970.
Prior to now, the last humans to be recorded having monkeypox were in central and western African countries.
Symptoms of monkeypox begin with headache, fever, muscle aches, and exhaustion — similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. However, unlike smallpox, monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell.
Infected individuals generally begin showing signs of the disease around 7 to14 days. Sometimes the incubation period can range from 5 to 21 days.
Between one to three days after people have developed a fever from the illness, they develop a rash. Often times it begins on the face before spreading across the body. Some patients develop the rash days after their fever starts.
Before falling off lesions progress through the following stages:
- Macules – flat lesions that are less than 1 cm in size.
- Papules – a raised area of skin tissue that’s less than 1 centimeter around.
- Vesicles (or blisters) – are thin-walled sacs filled with a fluid, usually clear and small.
- Pustules – a bulging patch of skin that’s full of a yellowish fluid called pus.
- Scabs – a protective tissue covering that forms after your skin has been damaged.
The first person in the United Kingdom confirmed to have contracted the undetectable transmission of the virus was on May 7, after they returned from Nigeria. The other patients seem to have contracted the virus in the U.K.
Recently, a senior CDC official, Jennifer McQuiston, stated, “We do have a level of concern that this is very different than what we typically think of from monkeypox. And I think we have some concern that there could be spread outside the U.K associated with this.”
In addition to the seven confirmed cases, one person is believed to have contracted monkeypox. This outbreak has officials concerned the infection could spread past the U.K.’s borders.
Humans can contract monkeypox when they are preparing bush meat for consumption or when they are hunting wild animals.
Those who fall ill from the virus generally begin to feel better within two to four weeks. In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease, according to the CDC.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Stat News: CDC expresses concern about possibility of undetected monkeypox spread in U.K.
ABC News: 4 more cases of ‘monkeypox’ reported in the UK: What to know