Cases of monkeypox in the UK more than double to 20

On Wednesday (18 May) nine cases had been diagnosed in the UK.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

Cases of monkeypox in the UK have more than doubled since Wednesday, according to the UK Health Secretary.

On Friday (20 May) it was announced that the number of cases had risen from nine to 20. Sajid Javid said "most cases' were mild.

The UK's Health Security Agency has warned gay and bisexual men in particular as most of the first nine reported cases have been in men who have sex with men

"Be on the lookout"

Symptoms listed by the UKHSA are: "a 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 agency is reminding people that the risk remains low.

Prof Kevin Fenton, from the UKHSA, is quoted by the BBC as saying: "We are asking everybody to be aware of the signs and symptoms, which include rashes around the mouth as well as around the genital area.

"And we are especially asking gay and bisexual men, among whom we've been seeing an increasing proportion of cases, to be on the lookout for monkeypox."

Monkeypox is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa and is usually spread through close contact. It hasn't been listed as an STD before but can be passed on during sex.

Most people recover within a few weeks. The infection does not usually spread easily between people, according to the UKHSA.

The UKHSA is advising everyone to be alert of 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.

Cases have also been reported in Germany, Belgium, the US, Canada, Spain, Italy in the last few weeks.

Anyone with concerns is being advised to contact NHS 111 or a sexual health clinic. People should notify clinics ahead of their visit.

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