The full list of 14 monkeypox symptoms you must not ignore – from low mood to blisters

MONKEYPOX is spreading in the UK and Brits are being told to stay alert to the symptoms.

The virus is not new, having been endemic in parts of Africa for decades. 

However, people in countries where the virus has recently appeared may not be familiar with monkeypox symptoms.

There have been very few cases in the UK historically, with the first only in 2018.

But in May alone, some 78 infections have now been detected.

Researchers published a paper this week that detailed the cases of seven people previously infected with monkeypox in the UK between 2018 and 2021.

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They had all been watched closely in hospital, where they stayed for between ten and 39 days.

Patients reported early symptoms of fever, night sweats, cold-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes and groin. 

They then developed the rash characteristic of monkeypox one to four days later.

But some patients had no early signs, and developed a rash straight away, the paper published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases revealed.

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The rash was reported on every patients’ face and trunk. Arms, legs and hands were also common. 

Five of the seven developed the rash around their genitalia.

These reports, together with the list of symptoms compiled by the UKHSA, helps build a picture of how monkeypox presents.

The signs may include:


2. Headache

3. Muscle aches

4. Backache

5. Chills

6. Exhaustion

7. Night sweats

8. Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose

9. Swollen lymph nodes

10. Swollen groin

11. Rash

Complications of the illness were documented as:

12. Low mood

13. Severe pain

14. Conjunctivitis

The rash and its blisters appeared on locations:

  • Face
  • Scalp
  • Trunk
  • Limbs
  • Palms (and sometimes the nail bed)
  • Soles of the feet
  • Penis
  • Scrotum 
  • Labia 

‘I thought I’d lose my thumb’

Meanwhile, a veterinarian who caught monkepox in 2003 has come forward to describe his illness.

Dr Kurt Zaeske told NBC he suffered “flu-like symptoms” including a fever, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and a headache.

Then he started developing small lesions on his body, including "one significant blister that developed on my thumb, and that became quite painful."

He said: "My biggest fear was that I was going to lose my thumb and not be able to practice anymore.”

Dr Zaeske caught monkeypox from a dog who had likely been infected by a rodent.

He was part of the biggest and first monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa, when more than 70 cases were identified in the US, all linked to infected dogs.

But the current outbreak is set to challenge that.

The number of confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide has reached 219 outside of countries where it is endemic, according to the European Union's disease agency.

More than a dozen countries where monkeypox is unusual, mostly in Europe, have reported at least one confirmed case, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday.

It added that most of the cases were detected in young men, self-identifying as men who have sex with men.

The UKHSA has said many patients had been diagnosed after going to a sexual health clinic with a rash.

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But it has warned that people who have had multiple sexual partners – regardless of sexual orientation – are more at risk.

Monkeypox spread through close physical contact, which includes sex. 

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