Two more Monkeypox cases found in UK as virus spreads to US

·2 min read
Two more Monkeypox cases found in UK as virus spreads to US

Officials have detected two more cases of the rare monkeypox virus in the UK, with authorities in the US also reporting a case.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had detected two additional cases of monkeypox, one in London and one in the South East, bringing the total confirmed cases in the UK to nine.

Recent cases of the virus, which does not usually spread easily among people, have been found predominantly among men who have sex with men.

The latest cases have no travel links to a country where monkeypox is endemic, so officials believe it is possible they acquired the infection through close contact with an infected person.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, said: “These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirms our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox within our communities.

“UKHSA has quickly identified cases so far and we continue to rapidly investigate the source of these infections and raise awareness among healthcare professionals.”

The stages of Monkeypox (PA)
The stages of Monkeypox (PA)

Dr Hopkins said the agency was advising gay and bisexual men to be aware of “any unusual rashes or lesions” and to contact a sexual health clinic immediately if they had any concerns ahead of a visit.

Monkeypox, which is most commonly associated with travels to countries in west Africa, has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, said officials, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

The two new cases do not have known connections with previous confirmed cases announced on 16, 14 and 7 May, the agency added.

An urgent probe is now ongoing to figure out how and where the recent cases were acquired, and how they may be linked.

It comes as officials in the US reported a monkeypox case in Massachusetts in a man who recently travelled to Canada.

US health officials are in contact with officials in the UK as part of their investigation but "at this point in time, we don't have any information that links the Massachusetts case to cases in the UK", said Jennifer McQuiston of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The man is in hospital and in a good condition, she added.

Monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body.

For many it is a mild, self-limited illness, with most people recovering within weeks, but it is fatal for up to one in ten people, according to the World Health Organisation.

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