Public Health England can confirm that a third individual has been diagnosed with monkeypox in England.
This person was involved in the care of the case in Blackpool Victoria Hospital before monkeypox was diagnosed.
This third case is now isolated to minimise the risk of onward transmission to others. They are being looked after in the specialist unit at Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.
We are following up with close contacts of this new case to provide advice and monitor their health. We are adopting a highly precautionary approach to minimise the risk of additional cases and are tracing anyone who had contact with this individual 24 hours before they noticed a rash.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said:
“This healthcare worker cared for the patient before a diagnosis of monkeypox was made. We have been actively monitoring contacts for 21 days after exposure to detect anyone presenting with an illness so that they can be assessed quickly. It is therefore not wholly unexpected that a case has been identified.
This person has been isolated and we are taking a highly precautionary approach to ensure that all contacts are traced.”
- Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- The monkeypox virus is similar to human smallpox, a disease that has been eradicated in 1980. Although monkeypox is much milder than smallpox, it can be fatal.
- The monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from various wild animals such as rodents and primates, but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission.
- Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine available although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well
Infection of index cases results from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals.
In Africa, monkeypox infection has been found in many animal species: rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian rats, striped mice, dormice and primates. Doubts persist on the natural history of the virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir of the monkeypox virus and how it is maintained in nature.