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New strain of monkeypox infection traced to Africa – UK

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The United Kingdom government has identified a different strain of monkeypox infection in an individual who recently travelled to West Africa.

The latest development was reported on the official website of the UK government on Thursday, noting that the “preliminary genomic sequencing conducted by UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) indicates that this case does not have the current outbreak strain circulating in the UK”.

This is the second time the UK would be linking monkeypox infection to West Africa since the current outbreak started. The first was confirmed in an unidentified individual who travelled from Nigeria to England.

The UK noted that the unidentified individual with the new strain has been admitted to the High Consequence Infectious Disease unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital “in line with standing advice from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens”.

The contact tracing of close contacts of the individual is said to be underway, but no further linked cases have been identified.

According to the Incident Director at the UKHSA, Sophia Maki: “UKHSA and the NHS (National Health Service) have well-established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed. The risk to the general public is very low”.

“We remind everyone who is planning to travel to the west and central Africa to be alert for the symptoms of monkeypox and to call 111 if you have symptoms on your return”, the official further said.

Confirmed cases of monkey pox in the UK stands at 3,413 as of 2 September, according to the data by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases but anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

The monkeypox outbreak global map by the CDC also shows that 53,027 monkey cases have been reported across 100 countries as of 2 September, of which the United States topped with 19,961 cases.

The data also showed that 15 deaths have been reported across eight countries, with five in those non-endemic to the virus.

West African countries – Nigeria and Ghana – topped the list with four and three deaths respectively, followed by the Central Africa Republic and Spain with two cases each.

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