Smallpox of monkeys There are growing cases in the UK – with 71 confirmed cases as of Tuesday.

Since the first confirmed case in the UK on 7 May, many questions have arisen: how does it spread, what are the symptoms and whether to worry?

Dr. Sarah Pete, a virologist at the University of Brighton, will be ready to respond Independent reader’s questions on ‘Ask me anything‘event on Thursday 26 May.

She said: “Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus from the same family as the smallpox virus. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with chickenpox, and its predominant animal is the owner is not a monkey.

“Common in some species of squirrels and rats in West and Central Africa. Humans can catch the virus through close contact with an infected animal or when eating undercooked meat from bushes. Sometimes the virus can be transmitted between people through very close contact, but usually it is not often.

“The current outbreak is due to people who live outside of Africa and have not traveled there recently. It’s not entirely unheard of, but outbreaks tend to involve a small number of people. For example, there was an outbreak in the UK in May 2021 when someone who caught the monkeypox virus in Nigeria infected two more people. There are now more than 200 people worldwide who are known to have the disease but have not traveled to Africa recently.

“Monkeypox virus is much more stable than SARS-CoV-2 virus or influenza virus, and is not prone to mutations. Detailed laboratory analysis of virus samples from some patients in Europe shows compliance with a strain of the West African version of the virus that was found in 2018 and 2019. So while some things with this outbreak aren’t clear, the unusual picture is more likely due to human behavior than to abrupt changes in the virus itself. ”

Dr. Pete will be there to discuss the symptoms of monkeypox, how people with the infection can get sick, how the virus spreads, self-isolation, vaccines and everything you want to know about the virus.

If you have a question about anything related to monkeypox, send it now, or if Dr. Pete joins you live at 3pm on Thursday 26 May.

To take part register to submit your question in the comments below. If you are not yet a member, click “register” in the comments box to leave your question.

Don’t worry if you don’t see your question after sending – they may be hidden until Dr. Pete joins the conversation to answer them. Then join us live on this page at 3pm as she solves as many questions as she can.

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