What is Monkeypox? Another rare virus has hit the UK 4 months ago

What is Monkeypox? Another rare virus has hit the UK

The rare disease kills up to 10% of people who contract it.

MP Matt Hancock announced yesterday that the UK is dealing with "an outbreak" of another deadly virus, Monkeypox.

Public Health Wales confirmed "two cases of imported monkeypox" in patients from the same household in North Wales, one of whom is being treated in hospital.

Health officials did not reveal which country the pair had returned from but confirmed that monkeypox is mostly found in Central and West Africa.

What is monkeypox?

According to the World Health Organisation monkeypox is "a rare tropical disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and blisters on the skin and is caused by a virus spread by monkeys, rats, squirrels and other small mammals. It can spread between humans through skin-to-skin contact, coughs and sneezes, as well as touching any contaminated clothes or bedding."

Is it dangerous?

Advertisement

According to the WHO, up to 10% of people who become ill with monkeypox will die and most deaths from the virus occur in younger age groups.

Is there a cure?

There is no specific treatment, but the smallpox vaccine has been found to be around 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox.

How contageous is monkeypox?

The WHO suggests the natural R rate of the virus, which is the number of people each patient would infect if they lived normally while sick, is two. That's lower than the original variant of Covid-19 and a third of the R rate of the Indian strain. However, in reality the rate of spread is much lower because "distinctive symptoms greatly aid in its early detection and containment". Therefore, human-to-human transmission is uncommon.