A file image of a young man showing his hands, which have the characteristic rash of monkeypox during the recuperative stage, during an outbreak of monkeypox in Congo (Image courtesy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Two individuals have been diagnosed with monkeypox in London, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed on Saturday.
The cases live together in the same household. They are not linked to the previous confirmed case announced on May 7. Where and how they acquired their infection remains under investigation.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some people.
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.
Initial symptoms of monkeypox 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, particularly the hands and feet.
The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.
As a precautionary measure, UKHSA experts are working closely with the individuals and NHS colleagues and will be contacting people who might have been in close contact to provide information and health advice.
People without symptoms are not considered infectious but, as a precaution, those who have been in close proximity to the individuals are being contacted to ensure that, if they do become unwell, they can be treated quickly.
"We have confirmed 2 new monkeypox cases in England that are not linked to the case announced on May 7. While investigations remain ongoing to determine the source of infection, it is important to emphasise it does not spread easily between people and requires close personal contact with an infected symptomatic person. The overall risk to the general public remains very low," said Dr Colin Brown, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA.