Two British tourists suspected of monkey pox have been flown in from Kefalonia in Greece using specialist isolation equipment as the disease continues to spread.

The couple were flown in from an airport in Kefalonia just after 11pm on Saturday evening (May 21) and transported to Athens.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control is conducting a Rapid Risk Assessment on the 29-year-old man from London and his girlfriend.

The man was taken to Attikon Hospital with what is believed to be the first case of monkey pox in Greece. The man’s partner is said to be asymptomatic, but was treated as close contact.

A spokesman for the Greek national health organization EODY said: “An investigation is underway into a suspected case of possible monkeypox infection. It is an English tourist who, together with his companion, asymptomatically, has to be transferred to Attikon Hospital to be treated in negative pressure rooms.

“EODY has received samples for confirmatory testing and they have been sent to a reference lab. The results will be available on Monday.”

Launched the EpiShuttle to fight monkey pox (Image: Keewatin Air LP) Read more related articles Read more related articles

The plane had an isolation and transport system on board EpiGuard, a Norwegian company, which operated from one of the 12 national emergency care centers in Greece. The system, known as EpiShuttle, is being used to transport patients with suspected Covid, Ebola, measles, tuberculosis and now monkeypox.

The EpiShuttle can isolate any infectious patient, regardless of illness, and protect staff and others. Ellen Cathrine Andersen, the CEO of EpiGuard, said her company steps in when patients require transportation from outbreak hot spots to where IC capacity is available, as well as offering intrahospital transfers for potentially infectious patients.

The couple fell ill in Greece (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The EpiShuttle is completely airtight and once the patient is loaded into an EpiShuttle, medical personnel do not need to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Downing Street has said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is monitoring monkeypox “extremely carefully”. The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “We have the UK Health Security Agency monitoring this very closely.

“The facts we know are that monkeypox is not usually easily spread between humans and the risk to others remains low. A notable proportion of the early cases discovered were in gay and bisexual men, so the UKHSA is urging this community in particular to be vigilant.

“It is true that most people recover within a few weeks.”

Assos or Asos village on the island of Kefalonia in Greece (Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images) Read more related articles

Contacts from monkey pox cases are at high risk of contracting the infection and must self-isolate for 21 days, the latest government guidelines say.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidelines now recommend that people who have had “unprotected direct or high-risk contact with the environment” be isolated for three weeks.

This includes not travelling, providing contact tracing details and avoiding direct contact with people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and children under 12 years of age.

Those who are believed to be at high risk of contracting monkey pox may have had domestic or sexual contact or changed the bedding of an infected person without wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

So far, the agency has confirmed 20 cases in the UK.

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