First case of monkeypox confirmed in Scotland as cases surge across UK

Public Health Scotland said contact tracing is under way with UK guidance advising at-risk individuals to self isolate for three weeks.

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Monkeypox has been confirmed in an individual in Scotland.

The patient is receiving care and treatment “appropriate to their condition” and contact tracing is under way.

The UK Government has said contacts of monkeypox cases at high risk of having caught the infection should self-isolate for 21 days.

“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they have any concerns,” said Dr Nick Phin, Public Health Scotland’s medical director.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance recommends people who have had “unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact” should isolate for three weeks and avoid contact with children under 12-years-old.

It comes ten days after Public Health Scotland (PHS) confirmed contact tracing efforts were under way on May 13 following

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually found in West and Central Africa. The West African strain that has been recently detected in the UK is “a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone already infected and with symptoms of monkeypox”. Most people recover within a few weeks, PHS said.

PHS is working with the UKHSA, Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to monitor and respond to potential and confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.

As of Friday, May 20, the UKHSA has identified 20 cases in England but more are expected.

Dr Phin, who is also PHS’s director of public health science, said the overall risk to the general public is low.

“We have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with such cases of infectious disease and these will be strictly followed,” he said.

“We are working with NHS Boards and wider partners in Scotland and the UK to investigate the source of this infection. Close contacts of the case are being identified and provided with health information and advice. This may include the offer of vaccination.”

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • fever or high temperature
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chills
  • exhaustion

A blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, including the genital area.

The rash changes and goes through different stages, before finally forming a scab, which typically falls off over the course of a couple of weeks.

Individuals are infectious from the point symptoms start until all the scabs fall off.

During this time close contact with others must be avoided.