A patient is being treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’s after contracting the rare monkeypox infection.
They are believed to have contracted it while visiting Nigeria. The infection causes a distinctive rash, often on the face, before scabbing over, alongside fever-like symptoms.
Public health authorities have sought to reassure the public that the virus does not spread easily and that any risk “is very low.”
“Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low,” said Dr Meera Chand, Consultant Microbiologist at Public Health England.
“We are following up with those who have had close contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.”
The patient had been staying in south west England before being transferred to Guy’s and St Thomas’s specialist high consequence infectious disease centre.
Monkeypox is usually self-limiting, say experts, but some individuals can suffer severe illness as a result.
The authorities are now contacting people who might have been in close contact with the patient, including those who were in close proximity to them on the same flight to the UK.
These “rapid infection control procedures” are a precaution, says Public Health England.
“PHE and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission,” added Dr Chand.
The first UK cases of monkeypox were reported 2018. Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by monkeypox virus and is reported mainly in central and west African countries.