Monkeypox: Matt Hancock says there's a 'UK outbreak'
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An outbreak of monkeypox has been confirmed in the UK. Two cases were reported in Wales, with the Health Secretary confirming these incidents this week. The viral disease often produces pox-like lesions on the skin, but can monkeypox kill you?
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare virus most often found in central and west African countries.
Most cases have been detected in Africa, with the risk of contracting the disease in the UK very low.
Typically, the virus is a mild illness which will get better on its own without treatment.
Two cases of the virus have been reported in north Wales according to health officials.
Public Health Wales confirmed one person had been infected abroad and the two patients were from the same household.
Both patients were admitted to a specialist hospital, but one has since been released.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the outbreak in Wales on Thursday.
He told MPs: “The tracing and isolation system was essentially built for very important but very small outbreaks.
“As Health Secretary you’re dealing with these sorts of outbreaks all of the time.
“I’m currently dealing with a monkeypox outbreak and cases of drug-resistant TB and that is absolutely standard and the lack of that capability at the start meant that the options that we had were fewer.”
PHW’s consultant in health protection Richard Firth said: “Confirmed cases of monkeypox are a rare event in the UK, and the risk to the general public is very low.
“We have worked with multi-agency colleagues, following tried and tested protocols and procedures, and identified all close contacts.
“Actions have been put in place to minimise the likelihood of further infection.
“”Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus and has been reported mainly in central and West African countries.”
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Public Health Wales confirmed the risk to the wider public is “low”.
The virus was first reported in the UK in September 2018.
It is regarded as a mild illness generally, with no long-term impacts on health.
Often it can take a few weeks to recover fully, without the need for treatment.
Can monkeypox kill you?
The virus is similar to smallpox and can be fatal, but is considerably milder in the vast majority of cases.
Monkeypox can be fatal in up to 10 percent of cases according to health officials.
The fatality rate ranges from 15 to 20 percent in children in Africa according to medicinenet.com.
The symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and backache.
In addition, it is possible to develop a rash.
This rash usually develops between one and five days after symptoms first appear.
The rash tends to begin on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
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