LONDON: A new strain of monkeypox linked to a person diagnosed with the virus after a recent trip to West Africa has been identified in the UK, health officials have said.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said preliminary genomic sequencing indicates this new case does not have the current epidemic strain circulating in the UK. The individual in question has been admitted to the High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in accordance with the standing advice of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous pathogens (ACDP).
“We are working to contact people who had close contact with the case before their infection was confirmed, assess them if necessary and provide advice,” said Doctor Sophia Makiincident director at UKHSA.
“The UKHSA and the NHS [National Health Service] have well established and robust infection control procedures to deal with imported infectious disease cases and these will be strictly followed and the risk to the general public is very low,” she said.
“We remind anyone planning to travel to West and Central Africa to be alert for symptoms of monkeypox and to call 111 if you have symptoms upon return,” she added. .
While contact tracing of the individual’s close contacts is ongoing, no other linked cases have been identified so far. The ACDP advisory states that imports of monkeypox directly from West Africa as well as cases caused by Clade I of the virus should always be classified as HCID as their characteristics cannot be predicted.
Single genital lesions and sores on the mouth or anus have also been identified as symptoms of the virus by an international collaboration of clinicians from 16 countries. Some of the symptoms are considered severe enough for patients to be admitted to hospital.
According to expert reports, gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by the spread of the disease, with sexual proximity being the most likely route of transmission. Monkeypox can also be spread through any close contact.

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