Four more people infected with 'rare' monkeypox in UK

Four more people infected with 'rare' monkeypox in UK
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Four more people in the UK have become infected with the "rare" viral infection monkeypox taking the country's total to seven, health officials said.

Of the four new cases announced on Monday (local time), three were in London, while one was in the North East, but all appear to have been infected in the capital.

The new cases of monkeypox, appear not be connected to the previous two confirmed cases on May 14, and an earlier infection on May 7, UK’s Health Security Agency said.

Health officials said the four new cases self-identify as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men.

UK’s Health Security Agency said they're investigating how the men became infected. 

"This is rare and unusual," said the UKHSA chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins of monkeypox in Britain.

"UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections because the evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact."

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. People can become infected with monkeypox, if they're in contact with an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, and most people recover within a few weeks, but severe illness can occur in some people.

Health officals said symptoms from monkeypox include; fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion, the health agency said. 

UK’s Health Security Agency said the virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population is low.