Second strain of monkeypox detected in the UK as officials urgently testing whether it’s a deadlier version

A SECOND strain of monkeypox has reached British soil, sparking concern among health officials.

The person who has the variant, had recently been to West Africa, medics at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have said.


The strain is thought to be the former more deadly version of the diseaseCredit: Getty
The chart above shows the different monkeypox symptoms patients may experience


The chart above shows the different monkeypox symptoms patients may experience

They tested positive for a version of monkeypox genetically distinct to the one currently circulating in the UK.

There are two major known variants of the virus, Clade I and Clade II — with the latter being the less deadly version.

Clade II is responsible to for the outbreak in the UK, which has reportedly been slowing down in recent weeks.

However, the strain which has just been discovered is thought to be the former more deadly version of the disease.

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Clade I is know to be ten times more deadly than Clade II, killing one in every ten people who catch the virus.

Clade II has a low mortality rate of one in every 100.

Experts are now conducting further testing to see whether the strain detected is in fact the Clade I version of the virus.

According to the UKSHA, the person carrying the strain has been admitted to a designated high consequence infectious disease (HCID) facility.

All cases of monkeypox directly from West Africa as well as cases caused by Clade I are sent to these facilities as experts “cannot predict their characteristics”.

Meanwhile, those who catch the safer Clade II variant are advised to stay at home to isolate.

Contract tracing to track down other potential positive cases has also begun.

Dr Sophia Maki, incident director at the 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: “We remind everyone who is planning to travel to West and Central Africa to be alert for the symptoms of monkeypox and to call 111 if you have symptoms on your return.”

There are now at least 3,279 known cases of monkeypox in the UK.

Officials recorded an average of 10 new infections a day last week in the UK, down from 21 the week before.

Some sexual health clinics in England have run out of monkeypox jabs, triggering a major halt to the vaccine programme.

The UKHSA said that it has delivered 50,000 doses to clinics and hospitals offering the jabs.

This is “the maximum amount available” at the moment, it added.

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Clinics were told they would not receive any more vaccines until sometime this month. 

Last month, a man in Italy became the first person in the world to test positive for monkeypox, coronavirus and HIV at the same time. 

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