National Services Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Monkeypox in Nigeria - Case confirmed in the UK

04 Dec 2019

Public Health EnglandLink has confirmed that a person has been found to have monkeypox in the UK. The patient became infected while travelling in Nigeria and is receiving treatment in London.

Monkeypox is an uncommon infection that is rarely seen in travellers. Nearly all cases have occurred in Central or West Africa, with only a few cases ever reported outside Africa. Person-to-person transmission can occur, however, most infections result from direct contact with the blood, body fluids, or skin/mucosal lesions of infected animals including monkeys, giant rats, squirrels and rabbits. Rodents are the major source of infection, which tends to occur in isolated rural or forest areas. Eating undercooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.

Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. Sores develop on the skin and these form scabs which eventually fall off. Most people with monkeypox are not severely ill and the diseases is only fatal in a small percentage of cases. Most people will recover within a few weeks with no lasting effects.

Advice to Travellers

There is no specific vaccine or treatment for monkeypox and prevention is by avoiding contact with infected animals and people.

Travellers to parts of central/west African countries reporting cases should:

  • Avoid contact with primates and rodents and avoid consuming undercooked meat from these sources.
  • Wear protective clothing including gloves if involved in the slaughter of, or care of animals in these regions.
  • Meticulous hand hygiene should be observed if visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives in these regions.