By Martin Goillandeau, CNN
A rare case of monkeypox has been diagnosed in a patient in England, the UK Health Security Agency said in a statement on Saturday.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people, the agency said, calling the overall risk to the general public “very low”.
“The infection can spread when a person is in close contact with an infected person; however, the risk of transmission to the general population is very low,” the statement said.
The patient is believed to have contracted the infection in Nigeria, the UKHSA said, before traveling to the UK recently. He or she receives treatment in London at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Infectious Diseases and Isolation Expert Unit.
Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion, according to the UKHSA.
The UKHSA said it would contact people “who may have been in close contact with the individual to provide health information and advice”, as a precaution.
Monkeypox is a relative of smallpox, which was eradicated in 1979, but is less transmissible and less deadly. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes the lymph nodes to swell, whereas smallpox does not.”
Rodents, including pets, and monkeys can carry monkeypox and transmit it to humans. The CDC investigated a case in a traveler in Dallas last year.
Forty-seven people in the United States were infected with the virus in 2003 during an outbreak linked to a shipment of small mammals from Ghana sold as pets. There was a small outbreak in Britain in 2018.
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CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.