The disease, called monkeypox, was diagnosed in a person staying at a naval base in Cornwall, England, according to a statement issued Saturday (Sept. 8) by Public Health England, the United Kingdom health agency investigating the case.
Officials believe the unidentified patient caught the virus, which proves fatal in 10 per cent of cases, in Nigeria before flying to England.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.
Cases have been reported in a number of countries in Africa, including Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Nigeria. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that has been shown to be effective or safe.
The second patient went to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and following a positive test result was transferred to Royal Liverpool University Hospital, an expert respiratory infectious disease centre, where they are being treated.
According to a statement from Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the PHE's National Infection Service, Nigeria faced a sustained outbreak of Monekypox in September 2017 and since then they have seen frequent one off cases.
"However, it is very unusual to see 2 cases in such a relatively short space of time", said Dr. Phin.
Although monkeypox and smallpox have similar symptoms, monkeypox is less deadly than smallpox: In previous outbreaks, the fatality rate for monkeypox has been between 1 percent and 10 percent, World Health Organization said.
Both patients had recently travelled to Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the disease.
Person-to-person transmission can occur if somebody used the bedding or towel of an infected person, comes into direct contact with a skin lesion, or is exposed to droplets from a patient coughing or sneezing.
He assured that the staff, other patients and their visitors are safe from getting the infection from this patient. A rash may also develop, which usually begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.
Monkeypox was first identified in monkeys by scientists in a laboratory in 1958. People usually recover within a few weeks, though it can lead to serious illness in some cases.
"We therefore encourage any healthcare worker that suspects a case of Monkeypox, to reach out to their State Epidemiology team for appropriate action".
Symptoms generally appear within ten days of exposure to the virus and can last for between two and five weeks. This rash can form blisters, which crust over, before the scab peels off.