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Health officials have confirmed that there are now three cases of monkeypox in the UK – but what are the symptoms of this virus to look out for?

The monkeypox virus is a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox.

However, it is far less severe and experts say chances of infection are low.

It is usually found in remote parts of central and west Africa near tropical rainforests.

So far there have been two confirmed cases in north Wales and one in Liverpool in north-west England.

No one is known to have died from the monkeypox in the UK.

Monkeypox causes a rash that scabs up usually on the face or hand
(Image: Getty Images)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in his evidence to MPs about the government's response to Covid yesterday, said: "As Health Secretary, you’re dealing with these sorts of outbreaks all of the time.

"I’m currently dealing with a monkeypox outbreak and cases of drug resistant TB [tuberculosis], and that is absolutely standard."

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The monkeypox has eight symptoms which do not usually show up for at least five days.

This "incubation period" could last up to 13 or 21 days before it is clear that the person has the monkeypox.

In the initial five days, the eight symptoms are:

  • A high temperature of 38C or above
  • A headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Back ache
  • Swollen glands
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A skin rash which scabs up and can fill with liquid

Children in central and west Africa are most at risk from monkeypox
(Image: Internet Unknown)

The rash usually appears within the initial five days according to the NHS.

In 95% of cases the rash affects the face, and in 75% it affects hands, according to the World Health Organisation.

You can catch the monkeypox by touching the spots or scabs of someone infected or their clothes or bedding, and it can be passed on from sneezing and coughing.

However, it is considered unlikely that the virus would be spread from one human to another.

It is more likely that the virus would come from direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal.

This has never happened in the UK.

The rash can come up as spots or scabs and can go away without treatment
(Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

The disease usually lasts two to four weeks and people can get better without treatment.

It can be dangerous if people develop secondary infections such as sepsis, encephalitis, and infection of the cornea leading to vision loss.

Richard Firth, Public Health Wales's consultant in health protection, said: "Confirmed cases of monkeypox are a rare event in the UK, and the risk to the general public is very low.

"We have worked with multi-agency colleagues, following tried and tested protocols and procedures, and identified all close contacts. Actions have been put in place to minimise the likelihood of further infection."