Confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK have more than doubled to 57.

The number, released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Monday, is an increase from the 20 previously confirmed cases.

There are 56 confirmed cases in England and Scotland confirmed its first case on Monday.

Northern Ireland’s Public Health Authority and the Wales Public Health Authority said they had no confirmed cases yet.

Health officials said that while the outbreak was “significant and worrisome”, the risk to the UK population remained low.

The government has a stockpile of smallpox vaccine that is given to people who are in very close contact with those affected.

Those most at risk are being asked to self-isolate at home for 21 days, with others being warned to monitor for symptoms.

Person-to-person transmission is occurring in the UK, with a large proportion of cases being identified in the gay, bisexual and male community.

Monkey pox is not usually a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be transmitted by direct sexual contact.

Professor David Heymann, former assistant director-general for health and environmental security at the World Health Organization, is said to have said a leading theory to explain the spread of the disease is contagion. sexually transmitted disease at rash sites in Spain and Belgium.

“We know monkeypox can be spread by close contact with an infected person’s wound and it seems important,” said a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The sexual system has now amplified that transmission.”

Experts have warned against “misinformation, stigma and discrimination” surrounding the condition.

During a WHO Q&A session, Andy Seale, a consultant with the HIV, hepatitis and STI programme, said: “There are many ways that we can work with communities to learn from real experience. decades of HIV stigma and discrimination. We wanted to apply that lesson, those lessons learned to this experience.”

The disease can also be spread by touching the clothing, bedding, or towels of a person with monkeypox, and through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person.

The disease is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

A rash may develop, usually starting on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

Because the virus is spread through close contact, we recommend that people be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and contact a sexual health service if they have any symptoms.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at UKHSA, thanked those affected for coming forward, saying they were “helping us limit the spread of this infection in the UK”.

She added: “As the virus is spread through close contact, we urge people to be aware of any unusual rash or lesions and to contact sexual health care if they have any symptoms.”

Boris Johnson said monkeypox was a rare disease but it was important to “monitor it”.

The Prime Minister told reporters during a visit to a school in south-east London: “It’s basically a very rare disease and the consequences so far don’t seem too serious, but it’s important that we must monitor and that’s exactly what the UK’s new Health Security Agency is doing. ”

Asked whether travelers should be quarantined or the smallpox vaccine administered, Mr Johnson said: “By all accounts it’s rare.

“I think we are looking very closely at transmissions. It has yet to be proven fatal in any of the cases that we know of, certainly not in this country. “

Downing Street said there were no plans to hold a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee on monkeypox, or impose any travel bans.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that although a vaccine was being offered to close contacts, there were no plans for a “large scale” vaccination programme.

Monkeypox is commonly found in West Africa, and is not commonly spread elsewhere.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, an expert in infectious diseases, said the so-called superspreader event was likely to be responsible for the increase in cases globally.

People are tracking the spread of monkeypox, which has been reported in more than a dozen countries including Spain and Portugal, according to epidemiologists at Harvard University.

Sir Jeremy told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The virus may have changed, but I think that’s unlikely. I think it is more likely that the place where this virus found itself allowed some super-spreading event and the individuals involved in it then traveled to other parts of the world and infected them. “

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he expected more cases to be detected in the UK in the coming days and UKHSA was working with public health authorities in the relevant administrative bodies. to “continue to keep scientific and clinical evidence under review to ensure that decisions are made based on the best available evidence despite the rapidly evolving situation”.

In a written statement to Parliament, he said more than 1,000 doses of Imvanex smallpox vaccine had been issued or in the process of being distributed to NHS Trusts as of 10am on Monday.


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