Monkeypox is a rare viral infection. It mainly occurs in central and west Africa. However since May 2022 some cases have been reported in UK, Europe and other international countries.
The risk of catching monkeypox in Scotland currently remains low.
Anyone can get monkeypox. However, currently most of the cases across Europe and the UK have been in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).
You can catch monkeypox through close personal contact with someone who has the infection, such as during sex.
Symptoms of monkeypox
If you’re infected with monkeypox, symptoms usually start 5 to 21 days later. The symptoms often get better by themselves over 2 to 4 weeks.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- high temperature (fever)
- flu-like symptoms, including muscle and back aches, shivering and tiredness
- swollen glands that feel like new lumps (in the neck, armpits or groin)
- a blistering rash that usually starts 1 to 5 days after other symptoms – the rash may start on the face or in the genital area and may spread to other parts of the body
The skin lesions (pox) go through 4 phases:
- Flat spots
- Raised spots
- Healing by scabbing or crusting over
Monkeypox rash can sometimes be confused with other diseases that can look similar, like chickenpox. A diagnosis of monkeypox requires an assessment by a health professional and specific testing.