Health chiefs in Scotland confirmed last week that contact tracing had begun on a “small number of individuals” linked to a monkeypox case identified in England. 

According to figures released yesterday, there have been seven confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK but here’s everything you need to know. 

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare infection which is primarily spready by animals in parts of west or central Africa. 

It is caught from infected wild animals in and is thought to be spread by rodents such as rats, mice or squirrels. 

What are the symptoms? 

It normally takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. A rash will normally appear on the face within the first five days of symptoms appearing before spreading to other parts of the body. 

The rash can sometimes be confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which then turn into blisters filled with fluid that later form scabs and fall off. 

They usually clear up in two to four weeks. Other symptoms include:

  • A high temperature
  • A headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen glands
  • Shivering (chills)
  • Exhaustion

How can you catch it?

Very few people have been diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK and all of them had travelled to West Africa or were close contacts of somebody who had. 

The NHS say that it is not spready easily but can be caught through:

  • Touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash.
  • Touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs. 
  • The coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash. 

According to the NHS, unless you have travelled to West Africa or been in close contact with somebody that has, then you’re unlikely to catch monkeypox.