Health officials have confirmed two new cases of monkeypox in the UK.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the London couple diagnosed with the virus live in the same household and are not linked to the recently confirmed case in England.
One of the cases is currently receiving care at the expert infectious disease unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
The other is isolating and doesn’t require hospital treatment, as said in a statement released today, 14 May.
UKHSA experts have said they are working closely with the couple and NHS staff in order to find out where and how the pair acquired the infection.
The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however, there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population.— UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) May 7, 2022
They’ll also be providing information and health advice to anyone who might have been in close contact with them as a precautionary measure.
Last week, an individual was confirmed to have monkeypox after travelling to the UK from Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the infection.
Initial symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache and exhaustion. Those diagnosed can also develop a rash that usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
The infection is considered similar to human smallpox, and those diagnosed with monkeypox usually only suffer mild illnesses, but severe illness can occur in some individuals.
Speaking about the latest diagnoses, Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA, said: “We have confirmed 2 new monkeypox cases in England that are not linked to the case announced on May 7.
“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.”
He continued: “We are contacting any potential friends, family or contacts in the community.
“We are also working with the NHS to reach any healthcare contacts who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to assess them as necessary and provide advice.
“UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.”
Professor Julian Redhead, medical director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added: “We are caring for a patient in our specialist high consequence infectious diseases unit at St Mary’s Hospital.
“All of the necessary infectious control procedures have been followed and we are working closely with UKHSA and NHS England.”