Case of monkeypox confirmed in North East as patient receives treatment at Royal Victoria Infirmary

The patient is receiving medical care at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

One case of monkeypox has been confirmed in the North East, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced.

Health bosses have said the patient is receiving medical care at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Four more cases of monkeypox have now been identified in the UK, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the disease to seven.

The individuals have the West African type of the virus, which is mild compared to the Central African type.

The new cases do not have known connections with the previous confirmed cases diagnosed between 6 and 15 May.

Investigations are underway to establish links between the latest four cases, who all appear to have been infected in London.

All four of these cases self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (MSM). 

Currently, common contacts have been identified for two of the four latest cases.  

There is no link to travel to a country where monkeypox is endemic, and exactly where and how they acquired their infections remains under urgent investigation, including whether they have further links to each other.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said: "This is rare and unusual. UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections because the evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact.

"We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

"We are contacting any potential close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice."

What is Monkeypox?

A virus:

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.

The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population is low.

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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 including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

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Anyone with concerns that they could be infected with monkeypox is advised to make contact with clinics ahead of their visit.