Monkeypox: 77 new cases confirmed in UK taking total to more than 300
A further 77 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the UK, health officials say.
The UK Health Security Agency announced Monday (6 June) that 73 more cases have been confirmed in England, with two more in Scotland and two more in Wales.
This brings the total number of confirmed monkeypox cases to 302. With 287 confirmed cases in England, 10 in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and three in Wales.
The agency continued to stress that queer men have been “disproportionately affected” by the ongoing outbreak and urged people with rashes or blisters to contact a sexual health clinic.
Monkey, a virus endemic to central and western Africa, has since spread to dozens of countries outside the continent.
The World Health Organisation recorded at least 780 confirmed cases of monkeypox outside of Africa. Many of the infected people, the global health authority said in an update, were “mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men”.
In England, the UKHSA said last week that more than 50 per cent of cases have been found in men who are gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.
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Wary of monkeypox being seen as a “gay disease”, health experts have stressed that monkeypox is anything but. It is not a sexually transmitted disease and instead spread through very close contact with infected skin.
“It might be that the pathogen has now entered those networks and is being spread that way,” Mateo Prochazka, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the UKHSA, told PinkNews in May.
“It does not mean that gay or bisexual men are doing anything inherently wrong, or that the virus has changed or that it’s sexually transmitted, it just means that this behaviour facilitates transmission in these networks.”
Health authorities across the world say the monkeypox outbreak poses little risk to the general public. The WHO says most people infected with monkeypox shake off the symptoms in only a few weeks.
The symptoms come in two parts. Those infected with monkeypox tend to first experience fevers, body aches and swollen lymph nodes. After a while, rashes and pockmarks develop that soon become raised and filled with puss.
The UKHSA has urged anyone in close contact with someone who has or may have monkeypox in the past three weeks as well as those who have travelled to West of Central Africa to to visit a sexual health clinic.