Humza Yousaf: Scots should not be overly alarmed by rise in monkeypox cases

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Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said it is “not a surprise” that the number of confirmed monkeypox infections in Scotland has risen.

Public Health Scotland revealed on Thursday another two cases of the virus had been confirmed, taking the total to three.

But Mr Yousaf said while there was “concern” about the rise in cases – with the potential for the current total to increase further – he stressed that “people shouldn’t be overly alarmed”.

The Health Secretary told the PA news agency: “Of course, there is concern whenever there is an infection or virus in the country – but we’re not alarmed and that’s the key message.

“We know that monkeypox has been around for many years. We know there’s established treatments for monkeypox. We know there’s established infection prevention control measures in place for monkeypox.

“So when cases are being identified, and its not a surprise to me that there have been more and I suspect more will continue in the weeks ahead, we have robust procedures in place so people shouldn’t be overly alarmed by any stretch of the imagination.”

His comments came after Public Health Scotland announced two more cases, both involving people who have recently travelled abroad.

The individuals affected are now receiving “appropriate care and treatment”, with close contacts being identified and provided with health information and vaccines where appropriate.

Mr Yousaf said: “Public Health Scotland is being very clear that the risk to the general public is very low.”

Dr Nick Phin,  the director of public health science and medical director at Public Health Scotland,  said the risk to the public is low.

He added: “Public Health Scotland is working with NHS boards and wider partners in Scotland and the UK to investigate the source of these infections.

“We have well-established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with such cases of infectious disease and these are being strictly followed.

UK monkeypox cases
The condition results in blisters on the body, which then scab over (UKHSA/PA)

“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they have any concerns.”

The monkeypox virus is usually found in west and central Africa.

Symptoms are generally mild and the illness is spread through close contact with someone already infected.

Most people recover within a few weeks.

Public Health Scotland said it will continue to work with the UK Health Security Agency to treat emerging cases.

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