The first case of monkeypox has been identified in Scotland, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 21.
British health officials are also now advising those who’ve had close contact with a confirmed case to self-isolate for three weeks.
Authorities in Scotland say the individual who’s been diagnosed with monkeypox is being treated “in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance.”
This latest confirmed case comes after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) updated its guidance for close contacts of anybody confirmed to have been infected with the virus.
They’re being told not to travel, to come forward for contact tracing and to avoid mixing with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and children under 12-years-old.
The authorities also recommend that close contacts receive smallpox vaccines.
Because the two viruses are closely related, the smallpox vaccine can help protect people from monkeypox as well.
The Chief Medical Adviser to the UKHSA, Dr Susan Hopkins, has also confirmed community transmission is now taking place in the UK. That means they’re identifying cases that don’t have any link to somebody who’s travelled to West Africa.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described monkeypox as a “very rare disease” but says health officials are keeping a close eye on the outbreak.
Small numbers of cases have been identified in countries across Europe, including Spain, Portugal and Germany.
While this all sounds similar to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say the two viruses are very different.
Monkeypox is a known entity to scientists and doctors and it’s much less contagious than COVID-19.
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-Reporting by Giles Gibson