Home Health & Food UK’s monkeypox cases rise to nine

UK’s monkeypox cases rise to nine

by James Davies


Lara Adejoro

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has detected two additional cases of monkeypox, one in London and one in the South East of England.

The latest cases bring the total number of monkeypox cases confirmed in England to nine since May 6.

The UKHSA in its latest update said the recent cases are predominantly in gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.

It, however, said the two latest cases have no travel links to a country where monkeypox is endemic, so it is possible they acquired the infection through community transmission.

“The virus spreads through close contact and UKHSA is advising individuals, particularly those who are gay, bisexual, or MSM, to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

“Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex. It can also be passed on through other close contacts with a person who has monkeypox or contact with clothing or linens used by a person who has monkeypox.

“The two new cases do not have known connections with previous confirmed cases announced on May 16, 14, and 7,” the update read in part.

The agency noted that it is working closely with the NHS and other stakeholders to urgently investigate where and how recent confirmed monkeypox cases were acquired, including how they may be linked to each other.

Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, Dr. Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said “These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirms our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox within our communities.

“UKHSA has quickly identified cases so far and we continue to rapidly investigate the source of these infections and raise awareness among healthcare professionals.

“We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns. Please contact clinics ahead of your visit.

“We are contacting any identified close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic infectious disease (i.e. an infection transmitted from animals to humans) that occurs sporadically, primarily in remote villages of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the vaccine for smallpox eradication), and cowpox virus (used in the earlier smallpox vaccine). Following the eradication of smallpox, the monkeypox virus has emerged as the most important Orthopoxvirus.

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

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