Majority of monkeypox cases are in men in London – as main age group is revealed | The Sun
AROUND 99 per cent of monkeypox cases are in men, new data has found.
A further 43 cases were detected today, bringing the UK's total to 366.
A report from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed that 81 per cent of those infected are living in London.
The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old.
UKHSA admitted that "traditional contact tracing is currently challenging".
Where gender information was available, 311 of 314 confirmed cases were male, with three confirmed female cases.
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The health officials did interviews and found that 151 of the 152 men interviewed identified as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men, or reported same sex contact.
Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
However, the data suggests that this is the primary way that the virus is spreading.
Health experts noted "casual sex", often with new partners, was making contact tracing difficult.
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The Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity that campaigns about and provides services relating to HIV and sexual health, said this week: "Everyone is being asked to be aware of the monkeypox symptoms, but it’s important gay and bisexual men are alert as it's believed to be spreading in sexual networks.
"We always encourage use of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Monkeypox is not an STI by nature, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.
"The spots, ulcers and blisters, which are most likely to pass on monkeypox, can appear on any part of the body, so condoms will not necessarily prevent transmission of the virus between two people who are in direct contact, including during sex.
"Although it is not clear if monkey pox can be transmitted through genital secretions, UKHSA is advising the precaution of using condoms for 8 weeks after a confirmed diagnosis of monkeypox.
"Monkeypox can also be passed on through contact with clothing, bedding and towels used by someone with monkeypox."
The report also stated that recent foreign travel, within 21 days prior to symptom onset, was reported by 75 cases, with 59 of these reporting travel within Europe.
The signs of monkeypox you need to know
Experts at the UK Health Security Agency have said all Brits should be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.
The signs may include:
- Muscle aches
- Night sweats
- Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swollen groin
Medics said that complications of the illness were documented as:
- low mood
- severe pain
Earlier this week, the UKHSA urged Brits to stay away from loved ones if they get monkeypox under new rules.
The report said that for the first time, UKHSA has graded the outbreak on a levelling system.
"At present, England is judged to be in Level 2 and we are monitoring closely for any evidence of Level 3," it said.
Level 2 is when there is "transmission within a defined sub-population", while Level 3 escalates to multiple or a larger population.
Level 4 represents significant spread of the bug.
The current outbreak is unusual because the virus is typically only found in parts of Africa.
But it has spread globally in recent weeks, with health experts investigating key chains of transmission.
The key symptoms of monkeypox include a flu-like illness of fever, chills, and muscle aches, followed by a chickenpox-like rash.
The rash develops into painful blisters before scabbing – and a person is infectious until their scabs have fallen off.
The UKHSA said people should contact a sexual health clinic if they have a blistered rash and have been in close contact with someone who might have monkeypox within the past three weeks.
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA said: “We are working, both in the UK and together with global partners, to progress the investigations that we need to help us better understand the virus, its transmission and the best use of mitigations such as vaccines and treatments.
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"We use the new data rapidly to inform the public health response and we continue to work to reduce transmission.
"We are grateful to all those who have come forward for testing and the patients who continue to help us understand the outbreak through participating in studies and investigations.”
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