Monkeypox: Close contacts of sufferers no longer need to self-isolate

·2-min read

Anyone who has been in close proximity to a monkeypox sufferer no longer needs to isolate - providing they have no symptoms, health officials have said.

The new advice comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had got 100,000 more vaccines as monkeypox cases continue to rise.

As of 18 July, there were 2,137 confirmed cases in the UK.

Of these, 2,050 are in England, with a large proportion of the cases found in London.

New information shows that only a relatively small number of close contacts have gone on to develop monkeypox themselves.

While anyone can get the virus, the majority of cases in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

Vaccination experts have recommended some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to monkeypox should be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex.

The UKHSA said the jab had been shown to be effective against monkeypox.

Dr Merav Kliner, deputy incident director at UKHSA, said: "While our advice on isolation is changing, monkeypox is still a serious public health challenge, and we urge contacts to take a break from any activities or events involving skin to skin contact, including sex, hugging and kissing to reduce the risk of the virus being passed on unknowingly.

"Stay alert to symptoms and call a sexual health clinic if you become unwell.

"Thank you to all contacts who have isolated already in response to this outbreak. We understand that isolation can be difficult but this was a necessary precaution whilst our knowledge of the outbreak was limited."

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay added: "Monkeypox is a rare and usually mild disease that does not spread easily between people, but we are taking action to help further manage the outbreak in the UK by procuring over 100,000 additional doses of vaccine.

"The NHS is already contacting those eligible for the vaccine, and I would urge people to take up the offer as soon as they are contacted."

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