MONKEYPOX cases have risen by 14 per cent, as another 159 cases have been detected in a week.
On Thursday, there had been 1,235 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK, the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said today.
It compares to the 1,076 reported up to June 26, when experts warned the infected to stay indoors.
Anyone can get monkeypox, which is characterised by a nasty blistering rash.
But at the moment, it is spreading among the gay community, with almost every case a male.
The hotspot is London, where 77 per cent of cases have been confirmed, data published by UKHSA today reveals.
Wendi Shepherd, monkeypox incident director at UKHSA, said: “The monkeypox outbreak continues to grow.
“Our investigations and information from confirmed cases continue to show that the overwhelming majority of cases are in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men.”
Ms Shepherd warned those who have plans over London Pride to enjoy so safely, echoing comments made by local health chiefs in the city.
She said: “This weekend, let’s enjoy Pride safely – before you go to any events or parties, check yourself for blister-like spots and rashes.
“Please don’t attend if you have monkeypox symptoms or feel unwell. If you have a rash or blisters, stay at home, phone a sexual health clinic, and get tested.
“Please be vigilant for any monkeypox symptoms in the coming weeks – especially if you are having sex with someone new.”
She also urged people to keep the contact details of any sexual partners, in the event it will be needed for contact tracing.
Last week Dr Sophia Makki, incident director at UKHSA, said anyone attending “large events over the summer” to be aware of the symptoms.
The monkeypox outbreak is unusual because there have only been some seven cases in the UK in the years between 2018 and 2021.
The sudden influx of cases coincides with a global spike.
And experts are now concerned it will coincide with a new Covid wave, and an unusually early flu season.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at UKHSA said she thought this year “will be even more challenging than normal”, The Telegraph reported.
The agency is watching Australia – in its winter – “very, very carefully” to predict what will happen in the UK.
“They have had their worst influenza season for more than five years,” Dr Susan said at a briefing, adding it started earlier.
“While we normally don’t see influenza really kick off until the end of November to December, that might happen as early as late September-October – that’s what we’re planning for,” she said.
Dr Hopkins said at least one wave of Covid is expected this autumn-winter, and monkeypox should be expected to spread for at least “the next six months”.
How is monkeypox spread and what are the symptoms?
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people.
The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through:
- touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash
- touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs (including during sex)
- the coughs or sneezes of a person with the monkeypox rash
The illness begins with:
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 5 days after the appearance of fever, a rash develops.
It often begins in the face before spreading to other parts of the body.
The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab which later falls off.
An individual is contagious until all the scabs have fallen off and there is intact skin underneath. The scabs may also contain infectious virus material.
The illness is usually mild and most of those infected will recover within a few weeks without treatment.
Source: The Sun