The NHS state that Monkeypox is a rare infection that is mainly spread by wild animals in parts of west or central Africa. The risk of catching it in the UK is very low and it is not common to get infected. You’re extremely unlikely to have monkeypox if you do not have any symptoms and you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa or you have not been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox.
You can catch it from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa. It’s thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels. The infection is passed on if you are bitten by an infected animal or you touch its spots, blood, body fluid or scabs. It may be possible to also catch Monkeypox by eating infected meat that has not been fully cooked or touching other products from infected animals.
Getting the infection from another person is uncommon as it is not easily transmitted but can be spread by, touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash. Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs or encountering the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash. To reduce your risk, wash your hands with soap and water regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly.
You should not go near wild or stray animals, including dead animals, do not go near any animals that appear unwell, do not eat or touch meat from wild animals, do not share bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox and finally, do not have close contact with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox. If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.
Symptoms include a high temperature, a headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen glands, shivering (chills) and finally, exhaustion. A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off. The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks and you should contact your doctor or medical professional if you have a rash with blisters and either: you’ve returned from west or central Africa in the last 3 weeks or you’ve been in contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 3 weeks.
Make sure you tell the person you speak to about any recent travel to west or central Africa. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people until you’ve been told what to do. If you’re still abroad, try to get medical help where you are as soon as possible. Treatment for monkeypox aims to relieve symptoms. The illness is usually mild and most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks.
You’ll usually need to stay in a specialist hospital so the infection does not spread to other people and your symptoms can be treated. Most people with monkeypox recover within a few weeks. For more current information, see the NHS website at nhs.uk/conditions/monkeypox
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