The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Scotland and contact tracing is underway.

The individual is said to be receiving care and treatment appropriate to their condition.

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually found in West and Central Africa. However, the West African strain that has been recently detected in the UK is generally a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone already infected and with symptoms of monkeypox. Most people recover within a few weeks.

20 cases have been confirmed in England, with more expected as the weekend figures are yet to be announced.

New guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said contacts of monkeypox cases at high risk of having caught the infection should self isolate for 21 days.

The UKHSA guidance now recommends that people who have had “unprotected direct contact or high-risk environmental contact” should isolate for three weeks.

Self-isolation will include no travel, providing details for contact tracing and avoiding direct contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women and children under 12

Monkeypox in Scotland

Public Health Scotland (PHS) is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Wales and Northern Ireland HSC Health Protection Agency to monitor and respond to potential and confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.

Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director, PHS said: “Public Health Scotland is aware of an individual in Scotland who is confirmed to have monkeypox. The affected individual is being managed and treated in line with nationally agreed protocols and guidance.

“We have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with such cases of infectious disease and these will be strictly followed.

“We are working with NHS Boards and wider partners in Scotland and the UK to investigate the source of this infection. Close contacts of the case are being identified and provided with health information and advice. This may include the offer of vaccination.

“The overall risk to the general public is low.

“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they have any concerns.”

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the UKHSA, the following symptoms could be an indication of monkeypox:

Initially, symptoms may include a fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can also develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages – it can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab which later falls off.

The UKHSA has urged that monkeypox does not usually spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population remains low.

The agency did not confirm details of the person being treated in Scotland, or where they were located, but said close contacts were being traced and would be given support, including the possibility of a vaccination against the virus.