The latest outbreak is by far the largest seen outside of West Africa to date, raising fears it could reach endemic proportions. Yesterday Britain recorded a further 36 cases of monkeypox yesterday, meaning the outbreak has tripled in just days. Health bosses described the rise as S, but have yet to confirm the disease has spread. The majority of cases present with a rash on the soles of the hands and feet. In some cases, the rash can spread to mucous membranes inside the eyes and mouth, according to the CDC.
According to the health body, human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets.
Since droplets cannot travel more than a few feet, prolonged face-to-face contact is required for transmission.
The CDC explains, “The rash usually begins within one to three days after the onset of fever.
“The rash tends to be concentrated on the face and extremities rather than the trunk. It affects the face in 95% of cases, and the palms of the hands and soles of the feet in 75% of cases.
“The oral mucous membranes are also affected in 70% of cases, the genitals in 30% of cases and the conjunctiva in 20%, as well as the cornea.”
As the rash spreads to the oral lining, it may become apparent on the layer of skin inside the mouth, including the cheeks and lips.
“The rash progresses sequentially from macules to papules, vesicles, pustules, and crusts that dry up and fall off,” the CDC notes.
The number of lesions can vary from a few thousand to several thousand, and in severe cases they can coalesce until large sections of skin break off.
Dr Clare Morrison, clinical expert at MedExpress, told Express.co.uk: “The early symptoms of monkeypox resemble the typical symptoms of any viral infection. These include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen glands and fatigue, so it can be difficult to spot them early.
In early research, scientists also found that a monkeypox infection could affect the lungs during infection.
The results, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, revealed that infection could increase the production of protections involved in inflammation.
The monkeypox virus also appeared to decrease the production of proteins that keep lung tissue intact and lubricated.