The 8 symptoms of monkeypox you need to know

IT is a rare disease not commonly seen – but occasionally cases are detected and cause fears of spread.

The monkeypox virus has similar features to the more dangerous human smallpox – hence its name.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox to look out for?

People who catch monkeypox usually don’t show symptoms for at least five days.

But it could be up to 13 or even 21 days before the signs are obvious.

This period is called the “incubation period”.

The infection causes two periods of illness. In the first phase, up to five days, patients can suffer:

  1. A high temperature – 38C or above.
  2. A headache
  3. Muscle aches
  4. Backache
  5. Swollen glands
  6. Chills
  7. Exhaustion

Then the skin starts to erupt within one to three days of the fever, causing a rash and scabbing.

8. Rash

A monkeypox rash usually begins one to five days after the first symptoms appear, the NHS says.

Spots often start on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

The rash affects the face mostly (95 per cent of cases) and hands (75 per cent), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the illness the rash changes from raised red bumps, to spots filled with fluid. 

The spots eventually erupt and form scabs which later fall off.

You can catch monkeypox by touching the spots or scabs of someone infected, as well as their clothing or bedding. 

It can also be passed on from sneezing and coughing.

However, the likelihood of the virus transmitting between humans is considered low.

Usually someone gets the virus from direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal – which has never happened in the UK.

How serious is monkeypox?

Monkeypox usually lasts from two to four weeks and can get better without treatment.

Severe cases occur more commonly among children.

Complications of monkeypox can arise – some deadly.

They include secondary infections such as sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea leading to vision loss.

As many as one in 10 persons who contract the disease die, according to the WHO, mostly in younger people.

In the UK, if someone is found to have monkeypox they need to be treated in a specialist hospital, such as the Royal Free Hospital's specialised infectious disease unit.

No one is known to have died of the disease in the UK.

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