A total of nine people in the UK have tested positive for Monkeypox as the virus outbreak continues.

The two new patients are both reported from the South East of England, where most of the cases have been identified.

It is also thought they got the infection through spread in the community, rather than travel like in previous cases.

Experts from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are monitoring the case and working closely with NHS colleagues to contact people who might have been in close contact.

What is monkeypox and why is it called that?

Monkeypox is a rare infection that spreads mainly among wild animals in parts of west or central Africa.

The disease was first discovered in monkeys kept for research in 1958 which is where it gets its name.

The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the risk of catching it in the UK is generally very low.

Bournemouth Echo: St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London. Credit: PASt Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London. Credit: PA

Monkeypox symptoms

These are the symptoms you should be aware of that are related to Monkeypox, according to Public Health England.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Aching muscles
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Infected people usually start to show symptoms between five and 21 days after infection.

The UKHSA has advised that the initial symptoms include "fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion."

The government added that a rash can develop which often begins on the face and can then spread to other parts of the body.

The rash can change and go through different stages before it finally forms a scab and falls off.

How serious is Monkeypox and how does it spread?

It is important to note that most patients recover within a few weeks of contracting the disease and do not need treatment.

However, it can cause severe illness in some people.

You can catch monkeypox from an infected animal if you've been bitten or if "you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters or scabs", according to the NHS website.

The NHS also says that you can catch monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal that has not been cooked thoroughly.

It is also possible to catch it by touching other products from infected animals, including animal skin and fur.

It's rare to get monkeypox from another person who has the infection because it does not spread easily between people.

That being said, the NHS says that it can be spread through the following methods:

  • touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash
  • touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs
  • the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash
  • direct contact during sex

For more advice about monkeypox, visit the NHS website.