A hospital in the North East has confirmed that it has had a case of monkeypox, as figures of the disease slowly rise across the North East.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust confirmed on Friday (July 29) that it recently provided public health advice following a case of monkeypox at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The trust said it followed all national and regional guidance and contacted a small number of patients as a "precautionary measure", as well as stressing that it was an isolated case.

Read more: Monkeypox: What we know so far after North East cases

Following the case confirmation, the trust has reassured there is "no public health risk to staff, patients, or the public", and has calmed fears for further cases across the Trust area.

The trust urged anyone with any unusual rashes or blisters to contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service.

A spokesperson for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: "We have recently provided public health advice following an isolated case of Monkeypox in our hospital in Sunderland.

The Northern Echo: A colorised transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (teal) found within an infected cell (brown), cultured in the laboratory. Picture: PA MEDIA A colorised transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (teal) found within an infected cell (brown), cultured in the laboratory. Picture: PA MEDIA

"We have followed all national and regional guidance, including contacting a small number of patients as a precautionary measure. Otherwise, there is no public health risk to staff, patients, or the public.

"Anyone concerned with any unusual rashes or blisters should contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service and avoid contact with others until they receive advice. More information can be found at Monkeypox - NHS (www.nhs.uk)"

This isn’t the first time that a case of Monkeypox has been detected in the North East after a case of the disease was found in Middlesbrough last month.

The Northern Echo: File image issued by the UK Health Security Agency of the stages of Monkeypox. Picture: PA MEDIAFile image issued by the UK Health Security Agency of the stages of Monkeypox. Picture: PA MEDIA

Now that figures are slowly climbing, here are some common questions answered about Monkeypox.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox and cases are usually found in West and Central Africa, with the virus not often spreading elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported in multiple countries, including the UK and across Europe, caused alarm among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

The Northern Echo: A nurse working on an NHS ward. Picture: PA MEDIAA nurse working on an NHS ward. Picture: PA MEDIA

What are the symptoms?

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, but some may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off.

Most people recover within a few weeks.

The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days.

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How does monkeypox spread?

The most likely route of monkeypox transmission is close physical contact, touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, or touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs.

There is a smaller risk of it being spread through coughs and sneezes, and as prolonged face-to-face contact would be needed, this is not one of the main routes of transmission for the monkeypox virus.

Sexual intercourse is thought to expose people to a higher risk of contracting the disease as, although it is not known to be sexually transmitted, the close physical contact involved means exposure is more likely.

A majority of the cases seen so far have been in gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

What is the level of risk in the UK?

The type of monkeypox involved in the outbreak is a West African variety said to be fatal in only one per cent of cases.

The UKHSA said that, after the WHO declaration of a global emergency, the risk to the UK remains the same.

In an update on July 22, the UKHSA said the most recent data suggested the growth of the outbreak might have slowed – meaning they are continuing to identify new infections but at a more stable rate.

How many cases are there in the UK currently?

As of July 21, there were 2,208 confirmed cases in the UK.

Of those, 2,115 were in England, and the UK Health Security Agency said a high proportion of cases were in London.

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