Monkeypox

Vaccines have been given to people in England to prevent further cases of monkeypox.

It comes after health chiefs last week confirmed two cases of the rare virus - only the fifth and sixth ever to be found in the UK.

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Symptoms of monkeypox

The patients are from North Wales but were treated in Liverpool, England.

Danish drug company Bavarian Nordic said it had worked with UK health officials to deliver its smallpox vaccine IMVANEX. 

Although IMNAVEX is for a different virus, it has been approved for monkeypox by the US FDA because it is so closely related to smallpox.

A small number of healthcare workers treating the patients have been given the jab.

The same jab was used to immunise NHS staff in the UK in 2018 when a monkeypox outbreak occurred and a nurse said she was infected changing the bed sheets of a patient.

Paul Chaplin, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic said: “We are pleased to assist Public Health England rapidly in such an emergency situation. 

“Vaccination is a critical measure to prevent and control the spread of diseases globally. 

“Governments have an essential role in preparing for outbreaks by stockpiling vaccines and treatments so that they are readily available in events like this.”

Public Health England said the risk to the public was still considered "low".

New details have emerged about the two monkeypox cases since the Health Secretary Matt Hancock first revealed he was dealing with an "outbreak" last Thursday.

The initial case was likely infected while working in Nigeria, Africa, where there have been random clusters of cases since 2017.

Their symptoms first appeared a few days after they and their family returned from the country on May 8, according to the World Health Organization.

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