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Monkeypox guidance from NHS Inform

Since May 2022 some cases of monkeypox have been reported in the UK, Europe and internationally.

Monkeypox is a rare – and usually mild – viral infection.

Some cases have recently been reported in Scotland, however, the risk of catching monkeypox currently remains low.

NHS Inform have released general advice and guidance about the infection.

Symptoms of monkeypox

Monkeypox is usually a mild illness and most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks.

Symptoms usually start 5 to 21 days after exposure and can include:

  • high temperature (fever)
  • a headache
  • flu-like symptoms, including muscle and back aches, shivering and tiredness
  • swollen glands that feel like new lumps (in the neck, armpits or groin)
  • a blistering rash that usually starts 1 to 5 days after other symptoms – the rash may start on the face or in the genital area and may spread to other parts of the body

The skin lesions (pox) go through 4 phases:

  1. Flat spots
  2. Raised spots
  3. Blisters
  4. Healing by scabbing or crusting over and then the scabs falling off

Monkeypox rash can sometimes be confused with other diseases that can look similar, such as chickenpox. A diagnosis of monkeypox requires an assessment by a health professional and specific testing.

People who are diagnosed with monkeypox will need to isolate to stop it being spread to others.

What to do if you think you might have monkeypox

The number of monkeypox cases is currently low in Scotland and your risk remains low unless you have had close contact with a case.

If you think you might have monkeypox, you should stay home, avoid close contact with others and seek help with medical services via phone until you're assessed.

Phone your GP if:

  • you think that you may have monkeypox
  • you have been in close contact with someone who might have monkeypox

If your GP is closed, phone 111. In an emergency phone 999.

Related links

NHS Inform - monkeypox guidance