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What is monkeypox and how do you catch it?

Cases of monkeypox are being investigated in European countries, including the UK as well as the US, Canada and Australia.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox, although it is much less severe and experts say chances of infection are low.

It occurs mostly in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests.

There are two main strains of virus - west African and central African.

Two of the infected patients in the UK travelled from Nigeria, so it is likely that they are suffering from the West African strain of the virus, which is generally mild, but this is as yet unconfirmed.

Another case was a healthcare worker who picked up the virus from one of the patients.

More recent cases do not have any known links with each other, or any history of travel. It appears they caught it in the UK from spread in the community.

The UKHSA says anyone with concerns that they could be infected should see a health professional, but make contact with the clinic or surgery ahead of a visit.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, aching muscles and a general listlessness.

Once the fever breaks a rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body, most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The infection usually clears up on its own and lasts between 14 and 21 days.

Experts say we are not on the brink of a national outbreak and, according to Public Health England, the risk to the public is low.

Prof Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology, University of Nottingham, said: "The fact that only one of the 50 contacts of the initial monkeypox-infected patient has been infected shows how poorly infectious the virus is.

"It is wrong to think that we are on the brink of a nationwide outbreak."

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Source: BBC News, 20 May 2022

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Wrong surgery and jabs among hundreds of NHS ‘never events’

A woman who had her ovaries removed by mistake was one victim of the hundreds of “never events” that occurred in the NHS over the past year.

Between April 2021 and March 2022 more than 400 patients in England’s hospitals suffered errors so serious that they should never have happened according to data released by NHS England. They include the wrong hips, legs, eyes and knees being operated on, and diabetic patients being given too much insulin.

Foreign objects were left inside 98 patients after operations, including gauzes, swabs, drill guides, scalpel blades and needles. Vaginal swabs were left in patients 32 times and surgical swabs were left 21 times. Other objects left inside patients included part of a pair of wire cutters, part of a scalpel blade, and the bolt from surgical forceps. On three separate occasions part of a drill bit was left in a patient.

“Wrong-site surgery” was carried out on 171 patients and six patients had injections to the wrong eye. The wrong hip implant was put in 12 times, a wrong knee implant was performed 11 times, and patients were connected to air instead of oxygen 13 times. Seven patients were given the wrong type of blood during a transfusion.

Some patients were given doses of drugs that were far too high, including the immunosuppressant methotrexate, which is used for severe arthritis, psoriasis and leukaemia. There were 11 overdoses of insulin.

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Source: The Times, 19 May 2022


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