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Monkeypox

Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare infection that’s mainly found in parts of west or central Africa. There have been some recent cases in the UK, but the risk of catching it is low.

How you get monkeypox

Monkeypox can be caught from infected rodents (such as rats, mice and squirrels) in parts of west and central Africa.

You can catch monkeypox from an infected animal if you’re bitten or you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters or scabs.

It may also be possible to catch monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal from central or west Africa that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching other products from infected animals (such as animal skin or fur).

Monkeypox can also spread from person to person through:

  • touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash
  • touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs (including during sex)
  • the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash

Monkeypox in the UK

Although more people have been diagnosed with it recently, only a small number of people in the UK have had monkeypox and the risk remains low.

You’re extremely unlikely to have monkeypox if:

  • you have not been in close contact (such as touching their skin or sharing bedding) with someone who has monkeypox or has monkeypox symptoms
  • you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa

Anyone can get monkeypox. Some cases have been diagnosed in men who have sex with men, so it’s particularly important to be aware of the symptoms if you’re a man who has sex with men.

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Symptoms of monkeypox

If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals.

The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off.

The symptoms usually clear up in a few weeks.

Treatment for Monkeypox

Monkeypox is usually mild and most people recover within a few weeks without treatment.

But as the infection can spread through close contact, it’s important to isolate if you’re diagnosed with it.

You may be asked to isolate at home if your symptoms are mild.

If your symptoms are severe or you’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill (for example, if you have a weakened immune system), you may need to stay in a specialist hospital until you recover.

You may be offered a vaccination to reduce the risk of getting seriously ill.

Things you can do to avoid getting monkeypox while travelling

Although monkeypox is rare, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting it while travelling in west and central Africa.

Do

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly.

Don’t

  • Do not go near wild or stray animals, including dead animals.
  • Do not go near any animals that appear unwell.
  • Do not eat or touch meat from wild animals (bush meat).
  • Do not share bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox.
  • Do not have close contact with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox.

For more info https://rist-education.com/educational-blogs/

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