Monkeypox cases confirmed in all nations of UK

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monkeypox uk cases northern ireland wales - Reuters/Reuters
monkeypox uk cases northern ireland wales - Reuters/Reuters

The first cases of monkeypox has been confirmed in Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning it has now been identified in all nations of the UK, health officials have said.

Dr Giri Shankar, director of health protection for Public Health Wales, said: "We are working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, and we are ready to respond to cases of monkeypox in Wales.

"The case is being managed appropriately. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed."

Monkeypox incident management teams have been set up in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to prepare for possible cases of the disease.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) of Northern Ireland said it wanted to "ensure that we are fully prepared for any potential risk to the population".

There are now believed to be 80 cases of monkeypox in the UK.

The UKHSA will update the totals later on Thursday.

Despite the rise in cases, the UKHSA has said the risk to the overall UK population "remains low".

Gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men are being urged in particular to be aware of symptoms, especially if they have recently had a new sexual partner.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

UKHSA teams have been tracing contacts of those with a confirmed case and are advising those at highest risk to isolate for 21 days.

A smallpox vaccine is also being offered to close contacts to reduce their risk of symptoms and severe illness.