Monkeypox symptoms include characteristic rash and pustules – case confirmed in UK

Monkeypox: Matt Hancock says there's a 'UK outbreak'

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On May 7, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that an individual in England has been diagnosed with the “rare” monkeypox virus. Though the infection has several initial symptoms, including fatigue and swollen lymph nodes, as it progresses some patients may experience a skin rash which later turns to “scabs”.

According to UKHSA: “Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

“A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body.

“The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) states a “skin eruption” moss often begins within one to three days after the appearance of fever.

The rash tends to be more concentrated on the face and extremities rather than on the chest, stomach or back.

The WHO explains: “It affects the face (in 95 percent of cases), and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (in 75 percent of cases).”

Some patients may also experience a rash in their mouth, genital regions or the eyes.

The rash evolves from lesions with a flat base, known as macule, to slightly raised firm lesions, known as papule.

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These can then fill with clear fluid, known as vesicles, or yellow fluid, known as pustules.

Pustules later begin to crust, dry up and fall off.

According to the WHO: “The number of the lesions varies from a few to several thousand.”

In severe cases, lesions can come together to form one mass or whole until large sections of skin fall off.

How transmissive is Monkeypox?

According to the WHO: “Most human infections result from a primary, animal-to-human transmission.”

During human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with monkeypox patients is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection between humans.

Therefore, health workers treating an infected patient and their household members are at a greater risk of infection.

However, the UK Government has pointed out that the virus is “rare” and “does not spread easily between people”.

The UKHSA said: “It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

“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.”

Dr Colin Brown, director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA, said: “It is important to emphasise that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low.”

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