Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease, but there are a number of cases in the UK.
There is currently 1 known case of monkeypox in Jersey.
How you can get monkeypox
Monkeypox can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa. It's thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.
In Jersey, monkeypox can spread through:
- contact with clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash
- contact with monkeypox skin lesions or scabs, particularly if your own skin has sores or cuts
- less frequently, the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash
Monkeypox is not described as a sexually transmitted infection, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.
Monkeypox in the UK and Jersey
The risk of catching monkeypox in the UK or in Jersey remains very low.
You are very unlikely to catch monkeypox if:
- you have not recently travelled to central or west Africa
- you have not been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox
If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include:
- a high temperature
- a headache
- muscle aches
- swollen glands
- shivering (chills)
A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. It usually spreads to the arms and legs including the palms and soles. The rash can also start in the genital area.
The rash starts as a flat rash going onto a raised rash and then blisters with clear fluid (vesicles). Each stage lasts about 1 to 2 days.
Vesicles then become pustules ( ie the fluid becomes opaque).
Pustules last up to 1 week before forming scabs which then fall off. Patients are infectious from the first onset of symptoms to clearance of all scabs
The symptoms usually clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.
The rash is sometimes confused with other conditions including chickenpox. Chickenpox is much commoner, is most often seen in children. The chickenpox rash is more central and comes out in crops.
What you can do to avoid getting and spreading monkeypox
Catching monkeypox is rare, but you can do these things to reduce your risk of getting it.
wash your hands with soap and water often or use an alcohol based hand sanitiser
only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly
do not share bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox
do not have close contact with people who are unwell and may have monkeypox
do not go near wild or stray animals, including dead animals
do not go near any animals that appear unwell
do not eat or touch meat from wild animals (bush meat)
What to do if you think you have monkeypox
Contact your GP or call the GUM (sexual health) clinic if:
- you think you have monkeypox symptoms
- you've been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox or has symptoms of monkeypox
- you think you have monkeypox symptoms and you've been to west or central Africa in the past 6 weeks
Avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you have had a clinical assessment.
Phone the clinic ahead of your visit and avoid close contact with others until you have been seen by a clinician. Your call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.
Easy read leaflet
Easy read mokeypox leaflet