Monkeypox: Seven more cases found in England bringing UK total to 78

·2 min read

The number of confirmed monkeypox cases in the UK has now risen to 78, health officials have said.

Seven new cases were identified in England, taking its total to 77, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Public Health Scotland confirmed on Monday it had identified one monkeypox case.

As of 24 May, no cases have been identified in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Despite the rise in cases, the risk to the UK population remains low.

Anyone with any unusual rashes or lesions on their body should immediately contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service.

The virus, which is normally endemic in Africa, has been found in 19 countries in the latest outbreak, the World Health Organisation has said.

It is spreading through the UK via community transmission, with infections being detected on a daily basis.

Experts on the continent have warned there is a risk the rare virus could be passed from humans to pets and then wildlife and that it may become endemic in Europe.

Read more:
What do we know about the UK's biggest-ever outbreak?

How do you catch it and what are the symptoms?

Smallpox vaccine offered to close contacts

A notable proportion of the cases identified to date have been among people who are gay or bisexual or men who have sex with men.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said: "We are continuing to promptly detect new monkeypox cases through our extensive surveillance network and NHS services.

"If anyone suspects they might have rashes or lesions on any part of their body, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner, they should limit their contact with others and contact NHS 111 or their local sexual health service as soon as possible - though please phone ahead before attending in person."

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UKHSA health protection teams are contacting people considered to be high-risk contacts of confirmed cases and are advising those who have been assessed and are well to isolate at home for up to 21 days.

In addition, UKHSA has purchased supplies of a safe smallpox vaccine and have offered it to close contacts of those diagnosed with monkeypox to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and severe illness.