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Monkeypox: Rare disease explained

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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed four new cases of monkeypox in England on Monday, bringing the total to seven. Active investigations are underway to understand what’s driving the spread but evidence suggests the viral infection is being sexually transmitted. Pharmacist Navin Khosla, does cialis cause vision problems Superintendent Pharmacist at FROM MARS has provided an overview of monkeypox, highlighting the symptoms and ways to reduce your risk.

Monkeypox was first discovered back in 1958 and is most seen across Africa.

“Caused by the monkeypox virus, this rare disease is said to be spread by rodents and not monkey’s, as the name might suggest,” Mr Khosla explained.

According to the pharmacist, monkeypox can be spread by animals and humans.

He said: “Catching monkeypox from an animal often occurs when the animal bites or scratches the human, as well as transmitting bodily fluids.

“In humans, the virus is transmitted through coughing, sneezing and airborne droplets.”

What are the symptoms to spot?

According to the pharmacist, the main symptoms include:

  • High temperature
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen glands
  • Fatigue
  • Shivering.

Mr Khosla highlighted several steps you can take to reduce your risk of contracting monkeypox.

He said: “Although cases of monkeypox in the UK are on the rise, it’s a rare disease and most people who contract the virus usually only suffer with mild symptoms which last around two to four weeks.

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“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Brits are anxious when stories like those related to monkeypox are reported in the news and although your chances of catching monkeypox are extremely slim, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and the steps you can take to avoid the virus.

“No matter how obscure this may sound, it’s important to stay away from any dead animals you may come across, whether that’s in the street or local woodlands and stay away from animals which appear unwell.”

In relation to human transmission, the pharmacist said it’s important to avoid contact with any humans who are unwell and refrain from sharing bedding, towels and other items they may have been in contact with.

“Alongside all of these precautions, it’s important to wash your hands on a regular basis and use hand sanitiser as often as possible, as well as only eating meat which has been cooked thoroughly.”

Mr Khosla added: “If you believe you might have monkeypox then it’s vital you isolate and ring your GP and explain your symptoms and they will talk you through the next steps and what you need to do in order to prevent the virus from transmitting to other people.”

Monkeypox – UK latest

Four new cases have been detected in England – three in London and one in north-east England.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says investigations are underway to establish links between the latest four individuals, all of whom 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.

This has prompted researchers to consider sex as a potential means of transmission.

Mateo Prochazka, an STI expert and the head of the UKHSA team investigating the monkeypox cases, said sex has never been described before as a means of monkeypox transmission.

“Close contact between two people (such as during sex) could facilitate transmission – but this has never been described before,” he said.

“However, the high proportion of cases in the current outbreak in England that are gay or bisexual (4/7, 57 percent) is highly suggestive of spread in sexual networks.

“This is further suggested by the fact that common contacts have been identified for only two of the four latest cases.”

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