A new strain of monkeypox has been found in the United Kingdom, according to the country’s health officials.
British health officials acknowledged that a person has been diagnosed with monkeypox as a result of recent travel to West Africa.
“Preliminary genomic sequencing conducted by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that this case does not have the current outbreak strain circulating in the UK,” the UKHSA said in a statement.
The individual has been admitted to the High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in line with standing advice from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).
Contact tracing of close contacts of the individual is underway. So far, no further linked cases have been identified.
Dr Sophia Maki, Incident Director, UKHSA, said: “We are working to contact the individuals who have had close contact with the case prior to confirmation of their infection to assess them as necessary and provide advice.”
“UKHSA and the NHS have well-established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed and the risk to the general public is very low,” she added.
Dr. Maki advised anybody contemplating a trip to West and Central Africa to be on the lookout for signs of monkeypox.
The ACDP has previously indicated that direct imports of monkeypox from West Africa, as well as instances caused by Clade I of the virus, should still be designated as HCIDs because their features cannot be predicted.