Monkeypox: Another 14 cases detected in England taking total identified in UK to 71

·2-min read
Monkeypox: Another 14 cases detected in England taking total identified in UK to 71

Another 14 cases of monkeypox have been detected in England, the UK Health Security Agency announced on Tuesday.

The latest cases bring the total number of cases confirmed in England since May 7 to 70.

Public Health Scotland confirmed on Monday it had identified one monkeypox case, taking the total cases identified in the UK to 71.

None have been detected in Wales and Northern Ireland so far.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said: “We are continuing to promptly identify further monkeypox cases in England through our extensive surveillance and contact tracing networks, our vigilant NHS services and thanks to people coming forward with symptoms.

“If anyone suspects they might have rashes or lesions on any part of their body, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service as soon as possible, though please phone ahead before attending in person.”

Health officials have said that while the outbreak is “significant and concerning”, the risk to the UK population remains low.

The Government has stocks of the smallpox vaccine which is being offered to very close contacts of those affected.

Those at the highest risk of contracting the disease are being asked to self-isolate at home for 21 days, with others warned to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Transmission between people is occurring in the UK, with a large proportion of cases identified in the gay, bisexual and men who have sex with other men community.

Monkeypox is not normally a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

Health authorities in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia have identified more than 100 cases of monkeypox in recent days.

Health officials are still investigating, but a top adviser to the World Health Organisation said this week that the leading theory is that monkeypox was likely spread after sexual activity at two recent raves in Europe.

Dr David Heymann, who chairs WHO's expert advisory group on infectious hazards, said monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with someone already infected with the disease, and that “it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission.”

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

Most people recover within about two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalised, although it can be fatal in up to six per cent of cases.

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